Edward James McGuirk, February 19, 1920 - February 19, 2014. Mr. McGuirk died on his birthday at home at Bella Vista apartments on Piney Mountain Road in Asheville North Carolina after a full and happy life. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the eldest of seven sons born to Pearl Selina Beaton and Edward James. His brothers Roy Charles, John Beaton, James Leonard and Alexander preceded him in death, and Earl Hudson of CA and Charles Clifford of AZ survive. Eddie, as his family and friends called him, saw great changes in his 94 years, from horse-drawn sleighs to bullet trains. Living through the Great Depression, he left school at age 14 to find work to feed the family. He labored for the Civilian Conservation Corps in Colorado and on his Uncle's farm in Conway, MA. At Harvard University library, he carried rare books to professors. Among his early work, he shoveled coke, collected scrap, repaired electric motors, and continued doing carpentry and plumbing even after entering his life's profession-working on the railroad. Starting as a brakeman on steam engines in 1941, Mr. McGuirk, or "Junior" as railway men called him, became a conductor on both freight and passenger trains on the Boston and Albany line, until he retired in 1981. He told railroad stories everyday thereafter. Eddie's love of his life was his wife of 67 years, Phyllis. Together they shared their home on Lake Cochituate in Framingham, Massachusetts, a summer spot in Rochester, Vermont, and lived for twenty-four years in Englewood, Florida where they volunteered at Venice Hospital before moving to Asheville, North Carolina in 2005. To cherish his memory and savor his oral history of railroad adventures, Eddie is survived by his wonderful wife Lorraine Phyllis Stevenson (Phyl) McGuirk; two daughters; Lorraine Phyllis (Laurie) Dow and her husband Stephen of Northborough, MA, and their three children Sean, Andrew and Michelle, all of MA; Gale McGuirk O'Neal of Swannanoa, NC; and a son, David Edward McGuirk and his wife Marjorie Petty McGuirk of Asheville, NC and their son Brian Edward McGuirk, of Oak Park, MI; as well as his dear 94 year old cousin Dorothy (Dot) Roberts and her son Russell. Throughout his life, Eddie enjoyed listening to music and reading, and sends special thanks to the East Asheville librarian who stocked large print books. To the Chefs at Bella Vista, Eddie sends his thanks for serving him meals without cheese. To all his friends there, Eddie wishes you well and thanks you for your friendship and good cheer. A memorial service will be held Saturday, 22 February at 11:30 am at Bella Vista, 55 Piney Mountain Road, Asheville, NC.
Published in MetroWest Daily News on Feb. 20, 2014.