Joseph E. McDermott

Joseph E. McDermott, 92, of Quincy passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Aug. 6, 2011. Born April 26, 1919 in Lewiston, ME to Joseph and Edith McDermott. Josephs family moved to Quincy when he was ten and his Dad took the position of manager at the Wollaston theatre. Back in the earlier days the theatre was used for stock company plays. Vaudeville troops were regularly scheduled, silent movies, big epics and cowboy serials. Both Joe and his sister Ruthie worked there for their Dad when they were young. In 1943 Joe earned a degree in Optometry at the New England College of Optometry and began his own practice in Quincy on Hancock St. He later completed post graduate work at Ohio State University. For 17 years he taught at the New England College of Optometry. He was a past president of the Boston Society of Optometrists and a member of the American Optometric Association and the Massachusetts Society of Optometrists. Joseph was a committed, involved member of the community. He was past president of the Quincy Lions Club, vice president of the local Council of Boy Scouts, and chair of the Community Chest programs; he served on the board of assessors of United First Parish Church and the Fair Housing Commission. His public service included serving on the Quincy School Committee, Quincy Recreation Commission, the Quincy Council on Aging, and the Mayors Commission for Human Rights. He was a co-founder of the Quincy Conservation Commission. One of the activities dear to his heart was participating in the annual Martin Luther King commemorative breakfast in Quincy. Joe attended UMass Boston when he was in his 70s and received a Certificate for Geriatric studies. He went on to volunteer as a state nursing home ombudsperson assisting elders for many years on the South Shore. After retiring from his optometric career of 56 years, Joseph worked as a substitute teacher at North Quincy High School, from which he had graduated. It was a role he greatly enjoyed. Joseph had strong beliefs about equal rights, peace, justice and fairness. He loved the outdoors and felt a strong connection to the earth and all living organisms. Over his lifetime he enjoyed hiking, biking, camping and travel. He stood in awe of the beauty of the natural world. Joseph was married to Virginia (Johnson), a City of Quincy Arts Teacher. They celebrated life together for 57 years. Together they had two children, Joseph James who passed away earlier, and Marlene who presently resides and teaches in Alaska. Other family members include Josephs sister Ruth DeMattia; son-in-law Rich Boone; grandchildren Emma and Noah Boone and Amanda (Boone) Gillis; Amandas husband Anders Gillis; and great granddaughter Kinley.

Published in The Patriot Ledger on Aug. 20, 2011