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Obituary - Michael J. McGuirl, L.M.S.W.

Michael J. McGuirl, L.M.S.W.

Date of Passing: March 16th, 2012

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In Mike’s memory, donations may be made to St. Joseph Nursing Home, 2535 Genesee St., Utica, NY 13501.

The head of the Irish Clan of McGuirl, Michael J. McGuirl, of Utica and Sylvan Beach, passed away on Friday, March 16, 2012 at St. Elizabeth Medical Center. He was born February 5, 1925, in Utica, the son of the late Michael and Luva Lowell McGuirl. He was educated locally at St. Agnes School, St. Francis deSales School and in 1949 graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame. Mike earned a graduate certificate in Social Work from the University of Buffalo in 1956 and a master's degree in Social Work from Syracuse University in 1958. On September 10, 1949, he married the former Carol Hackett. Mike always said to Carol, "God made you just for me". Mike and Carol, and their family and friends, enjoyed 46 happy years at their summer home, "The Monsignor" at Sylvan Beach, named after the late Msgr. Joseph May. Mike developed his work ethic as a waiter at his parent's restaurant, The Irish House of McGuirl in Utica. He later worked at Syracuse Psychiatric Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital and both Syracuse and Utica Catholic Charities. He was elected Commissioner of Social Services for Oneida County in 1960 and served in that capacity for 14 years, resigning in 1974. In conjunction with serving as commissioner, he also taught evening classes at Utica College. While in office, Mike received numerous commendations from the state and federal governments for his outstanding work and innovations for welfare programs. He was recognized by the Utica and Rome Newspapers as well as the New York Times for his management of the Oneida County Department of Social Service. He and John F. Kennedy were the only democrats to carry Oneida County. Mike was also the youngest commissioner in the states history and the first graduate social worker to become the Commissioner of Social Service. Mike was an ardent member of the Democratic Party and its youngest Committeeman starting at the old 13th Ward at the age of 18. He and Carol were charter members of the Young Democrat's Club of Oneida County. As upstate chairman for Robert Kennedy's campaign, Mike worked closely with his good friend, Walt Sheridan, Kennedy's Administrative Assistant in his successful bid for Senator from New York State. In 1974, Mike became the Director of Social Services and Discharge Planning at St. Elizabeth Hospital, a position he held for 21 years. He was most pleased to be associated with the Sisters of St. Francis, the Sisters of the Atonement, the Carmelite Sisters and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet. Mike, always a devout Catholic, was a parishioner of the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. In 1995, he resigned his position at St. Elizabeth Hospital to work at Lourdes Church with Monsignor William Donovan, Pastor. Mike had conceived an idea for a social service outreach program at his church and school. After it was formed, it was named the Lourdes Social Service Outreach Center, and Mike was named Administrator. It was a highlight of his career to be named trustee there and to be closely associated with his good friend, Msgr. Donovan. Mike felt blessed to be allowed to work with and for the people and priests at Lourdes and often said "I couldn't have ended my career in a more wonderful place". Mike's memberships included: the William E. Burke Utica Council #189 Knights of Columbus and its 4th degree, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the National Association of Social Workers, the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes and its Men's Club, was a charter member of the Board of Directors of the Good News Foundation, C.A.P.A. of the Oneida County Department of Social Service and St. Agnes, St. Francis and Notre Dame Alumni Associations as well as the University of Buffalo and Syracuse University Alumni Associations. For many years he served as chairman and worked on various committees of the United Fund and also served on many boards of director's for various agencies including: Catholic Charities and V.N.A. Mike was also a charter member of the St. Elizabeth Hospital Development Fund and its Franklin Club, was a member of the Governing Board at St. Joseph Nursing Home, and also was named Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Utica, in 1988. McGuirl gave much credit to his co-workers over the years, to his wife, family and friends in receiving the following awards: University of Notre Dame "Man of the Year Award", "NASW Social Worker of the Year Award", Marian Club Award for Service to Catholic Education, the Catholic Charities Parish Award in 1995 for his establishment of the Lourdes Social Service Program and the prestigious Msgr. Daniel E. Lawler Community Service Award in 1996. Besides his wife Carol, survivors include two sons, Sean Patrick McGuirl of Utica and Michael J. McGuirl, IV and his partner, Thomas Zahn of Syracuse; two daughters, Mary Clare McGuirl of Utica and Anne Bentley McGuirl and son-in-law, Dr. Steven Kussin of Utica; three cherished grandsons, Todd Patrick Fox, Sean Nicholas Fox and Kevin Michael Fox; his first cousins, Marion Smith and Denise Galloway; his lifelong friend, Shirley Maher; several nieces, nephews and cousins; and many other friends. He was predeceased by two sisters, Betty McGuirl Mulchy and Kathleen McGuirl Powers; and his lifelong friend, Frank P. Maher, who was like a brother to him. The funeral will be Tuesday morning at 9:30 from the Bentz & Amodio Funeral Service, Inc., 470 French Rd., Utica/New Hartford, under the direction of his good friend, Mark C. Bentz and 10:30 from the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be concelebrated by Rev. Abe Esper, Rev. Joseph Salerno, Rev. Sean O'Brien and Rev. Robert Kelly, as well as several other priest friends of the McGuirl family. The eulogy will be offered by his friend, Rev. John Manno. Interment will be in St. Agnes Cemetery. Calling hours are Monday evening from 4-7. Members of the Knights of Columbus and its 4th degree will meet at the funeral home Monday at 6:30 pm. Simultaneously, along with his Funeral Mass, a Memorial Mass will be said at the University of Notre Dame. The family wishes to extend a special thank you to his many friends and staff at St. Joseph Nursing Home, for all their love and care extended to Mike. Mike wishes the following blessing to his family and friends: "An Irish Blessing" Don't walk in front of me. I may not follow. Don't walk behind me. I may not lead. Walk beside me, and just be my friend.


Dear Carol-Sean-Michael-Mary and Anne- It has been many years and you may very well have forgotten who I am - but I have never forgotten the kindness of the McGurils to me and my ex-wife Barbara. Mike was the one who assisted me in launching my social work career oh so many years ago but what he taught me has remained my core values in working with people . Mike was a wonderful man and he shall be missed . My best wishs to you all . I will keep you in my prayers - always - chuck meyers
chuck meyers

To The Family of Michael McGurl, I just wanted to send my thoughts and prayers your way during this very difficult time. May the Lord watch over you and comfort you. I always say "It's not Goodbye, It's till we meet again." Your Husband, Father, Grandfather, has been called to his heavenly home and may you all find your own peace knowing that he is now at peace. I didn't know Mike well, but I can say, he was always a very gracious host when I was around him. So sorry for your loss. XOXOXOXO
Janet Fox

It's Tuesday and I just picked up my church bulletin from Mike in the mail here in Florida and called to say hello and Happy St. Pat's only to learn the news. We have lost a giant of a man and grand personal friend of mine that can never be replaced. I cry now for Carol, Sean Patrick, Michael, Mary Clare, and Anne and their children loved ones and friends. All of us are richer to have known him. You are among the richest. I will never forget him.
Bob Kelly

Dear Michael and Family - My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you during this very difficult time. May you fine peace in the love of your family and friends. All my Love.
Kathi Tamer

Carol, Mary, Todd and family so sorry to hear of your loss. I was blessed to know him. I'm sure there will be a great void in your lives, but his light will shine on in you. Peace and love, always Liz
liz caruso

To the whole McGuirl Clan, Your loss is a loss for all who knew Mike. I always looked forward to seeing him and Carol at Eddie's. He always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. I am in Florida with Leslie, but please know that I will be with you in spirit at this difficult time. Fondly, Bobbi
Bobbi Wolff

Mary/Mike and family, What a remarkable man who accomplished so much in his life. I know you are so proud and that he will be missed. May he rest in peace.
Gene Morreale

Carol, I am sorry for your loss. When I would go over to your parents' home, all I ever heard was what a wonderful Mike was and how happy you both were. Love never dies; the imprint of your marriage will always be on you and your family. Louise
Louise (Carroll) White

Dear Carol So many fond memories when you were living on Willow Street. I remember Ellen and I visiting the hospital on our wedding day, to see you and Mary Clare. How could we forget celebrating Christmas on the "Fourth of July" at Sylvan Beach and a few good times with Mike at the "House of McGuirl" on Eagle St. with his father "Big Mike". My thoughts and prayers are with you. Bill Welch
Bill Welch

Dear McGUIRL family my mom and I are so sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Mary and Lori Stone
Lori Stone

Dear McGuirl family, some of my fondest memories are of spending time with Mr. McGuirl back in the day. He was a lovely man. I know he thought the world of his family which was everything to him. All the best and God bless. Tom
Tom Macner

Carol, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Mike. He was a very special man. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. Much love. Patty
Patty Maher

Dear Carol and family, So sorry to hear of your loss. I will never forget what a beautiful couple you made....may God give you strength at this difficult time.
Cheryl Mondi

What a special man Mike was. I met Mike at St. Joseph's Nursing Home where my parents reside. My mom shared a table with him in the dining room. He always had a smile on his face and a kind word. I always enjoyed reading his jokes on the elevator. Mom told me of his passing yesterday while I was visiting. My condolences to Mike's family. With heartfelt sympathy, Lynn Waite
Lynn Waite

To the entire family and their friends, I am sorry for your loss, and that I never had the pleasure of Mr. McGuirl's company. Most especially to Mary McGuirl, and her sons, I see clearly now where some of Mary's very kind and giving nature are from. Mr. McGuirl gave so much to so many. May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back, may friends ever touch you with hands that understand. Deep peace of the running wave to you. Deep peace of the flowing air to you. Deep peace of the quiet earth to you. Deep peace of the shining stars to you. Deep peace of the gentle night to you, moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Rev. Lucy Ijams

Our sympathy and our prayers are with you. God Bless.
Rose & Karen Moylan

So sorry for your loss. Uncle Mike was a great man. I still remember all the phone calls that I received when Tom was so sick. Enjoy all the family that were waiting for you in heaven. Deepest Sympathy Francine Mulchy and family
Francine Mulchy

A true "Gentle Man" has earned his wings. He and his family are in our prayers.
Tim & Colleen Moylan Family

I met Mike while volunteering at St. Joseph's Nursing Home. We had many, many nice visits. I sure will miss him. He was so proud of his family, faith, wife, children and grandchildren. Mike was special and he lived a life of giving...I remember he had a big prayer book he got from Notre Dame University. If someone can find out the name of it, i would like to get it was just so unique and beautiful..RIP......Everytime God needs an angel in heaven, he chooses an Irishman.
karen donovan

So very sorry for your loss. Mike was a wonderful person. I so loved our talks @ St.Josephs when my Mom;Beatrice Biamonte was a resident there. I also graduated from St.Francis with Mary Clare.I was also previously employeed @ Art Nole's where I visited w/both Mike and Carol.Mike will be sadly missed! I understand exactly what you are going through as I lost my Mom in June. My heartfelt sympathy to the entire McGuirl family.
Denise Faccioli (Biamonte)

Anne and Family, I am sorry for your loss. I remember working with you Anne when your father was the Grand Marshall. Being a girl from Rome of Italian Descent, my friend Anne had to explain the passing of the Shillelagh. So every year when I read it in the OD, I remember the McGuirls. God Speed Mr. McGuirl, god bless McGuirl family. Lisa

Dear McGuirl Family, I am so so sorry to hear of the loss of Mike. I will miss him at St. Joseph's - he was a great man and so kind , with prayers, Mary Hosey
Mary Hosey

Absence diminishes little passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans a fire. Mike's prayer for hope: O Holy St Jude! Apostle and Martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, near kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor for all who invoke you, special patron in time of need; to you I have recourse from the depth of my heart, and humbly beg you, to whom God has given such great power, to come to my assistance; help me now in my urgent need and grant my earnest petition. I will never forget thy graces and favors you obtain for me and I will do my utmost to spread devotion to you Amen.
Peter Fox

Annie and Family, With sincere sympathy in the loss of quite the gentleman with a kind heart and a gentle spirit. Your father will be remembered as one of the most beautiful people we have ever met and we will take that with us as we continue our journey on this earth. Until then, may he sleep with His Angels til we all meet again in the glorious heavens with our eternal Father, Jesus Christ. With love, peace and comfort, Frank and Mary Guzzardo Annese Plantation, Florida
Frank and Mary Annese

Uncle, how fitting that you celebrated St. Patrick's Day doing the Irish Jig with all the "Clan" that left this earth before you. I am sure Mike & Luva, Betty & Bud, Kathleen & Bill, Carol, and Tom and many others welcomed you with open arms at the heavenly St. Paddy's Day Celebration.
Tim & Mary Mulchy

I am so sorry for your lose McGuirl clan. I am still in shock. I loved by great Uncle, I was his favorite, as he said,I will miss him so much. I find comfort knowing he will see my Mom again.
Patty Hauser (McCarthy)