Be a giant! Kindness and compassion are important. The more you share your heart, the bigger you can care for the world. But, there is no one giant step. It's a lot of little ones. J. Donald McGrogan, Jr. took each of those steps through music, nature, his infectious and resonant belly-laugh, an unending love for his family that he learned the hard way and a few pints of Guinness. Our big guy was steadfast through uncertainty for many years, but he was the smartest man we knew because he knew what he didn't know. Don was genuinely loving, hard-working and persistent. A warrior.
There's no time for saying goodbye. Only see ya later. On Mumday Sunday, April 4, 2021, our tears didn't only fall. They crashed around us. Our husband, our dad, our friend and our captain passed away peacefully in the company of his loving family after just 62 trips up the street. One day we'll meet again. Don't know where, don't know when. But I know we'll meet again some sunny day.
Don was born in the cradle of liberty, "Mumtown USA," and spent all of his years in the City of Brotherly Love. He began working for Acme Markets at the age of 17 and was promoted to Produce Manager that opened the doors to UFCW Local 1776, where he started as Business Agent and excelled to Executive Vice President. Don started banjo lessons through the 8th grade and entered mummery shortly thereafter. His banjo and golden slippers shined with the Juniata String Band from 1974 - 1989, where he performed as Captain for 6 years. Following his time in Juniata, Don joined the Aqua String Band in 1989, where he quickly became a respected musician, leader, inspiration and showman. Don contributed his talents to the band as a member of the Board of Directors, where he had served as business agent and banjo section leader, professing his love of the Jany Banjo. He led the band up the street as an Aqua String Band Hall of Fame Captain for 8 years and retired from parading in 2013.
Outside of his golden slippers, Don was an avid hunter and fisherman who enjoyed the trip of a lifetime to Canada in 2009, where the trophy bear landed a spot in his home...that everyone walks by. He was a charter member of the Tobyhanna Rod and Gun Club, in charge of finding the "smokeshifter" and survived the "Battle of Chipamunka." His proudest moments, however, were his three girls and simply being "Pop-Pop."
I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one. I'd like to leave an afterglow of belly laughs when life is done...of happy times and laughing times, bright and sunny days. True love is your soul's recognition of its counterpoint in another. Don met his loving wife, Deborah Anne (nee Little) McGrogan at St. Mary's Hospital and enjoyed 40 years of marriage during which they got the opportunity to travel and made a beautiful family. Don is the daddy of Kathleen and her husband, Daniel Rodriguez, Kelly and her husband, Dennis Ondrejka, Deborah McGrogan and her husband, Edward Fetscher. Don is the proud grandfather of Grace, Danny, Teagan and Quinn. Don is the son of Marie Mulgrew Trainor and the late J. Donald McGrogan, Sr. He is also survived by and will be sadly missed by his siblings, Theresa McGrogan, Robert and his wife, Karyn, Eileen and her husband, Charles Sweigert, Edward and his wife, Francis Trainor, Christina and her wife, Char Trainor, as well as the UFCW Local 1776, the Aqua String Band and the Tobyhanna Rod & Gun Club.
I just wanted to let you all know that I made it home. The journey wasn't an easy one, but it didn't take too long.
Relatives and friends are invited to gather with the McGrogan Family. We'll be strutting, sharing fishing stories, and toasting a loving husband, father, pop-pop, son, brother, uncle, mummer and friend on Thursday evening between 6:00 - 8:00 P.M. and again on Friday morning between 11:00 A.M. and 12:00 Noon at Hollen Funeral Home, Inc., 3160 Grant Avenue, Philadelphia, PA. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12:30 P.M. at St. Jerome's Church, 8100 Colfax Street, Philadelphia, PA 19152. The time-honored tradition of reuniting those we love with nature will be held privately.
As an expression of sympathy and in lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Mummers Against Cancer Foundation, P. O. Box 37180, Philadelphia, PA 19148.
To share condolences with Don's family, please go to www.hollenfuneralhome.com.
Flowers should be delivered by 3:00 P.M. on Thursday, April 8, 2021.
Arrangements by Hollen Funeral Home, Inc., Thomas J. Fluehr, Funeral Director, 3160 Grant Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19114, 215-698-2500, www.hollenfuneralhome.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of J. Donald McGrogan, Jr., please visit our floral store.
Mummers Against Cancer Foundation
P. O. Box 37180, Philadelphia PA 19148