John Wallace McGinnis
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John was born in Columbus Ohio and was always known as "Mickey"; until he moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1960. He was an avid water skier, pilot, and "Hot Rodder" his entire life. In 1966, he built the McGinnis school on Old Dixie Highway and operated the center/summer camp for 40 years. On Sunday, April 11, there will be a casual memorial service at Butterfly Lake from 2:30 to 4:30 PM. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on.

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Published in Sun-Sentinel on Mar. 31, 2021.
Memorial service
02:30 - 04:30 PM
Butterfly Lake
Memories & Condolences
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18 entries
April 13, 2021
My son, David Edwards, and I were sorry the memorial was cancelled as he had happy memories at the lake trying to water ski as a little boy. Both my children, David and Taylor Walsh, were lucky enough to attend McGinnis School and learn to swim with Molly. Mr. and Mrs. McGinnis provided a wonderful, dependable, healthy atmosphere for the many children there and they were all lucky to get a home cooked meal every lunch time by Jessie, with snacks cut up at the picnic tables by Mrs. McGinnis. I think this helped give my sons, one a lawyer and one a teacher starting next month, a good, solid start learning how to follow rules that were gently but persistently imposed, to be kind to others and to have fun. The consistency you provided was a gift to me and them and I am deeply appreciative and wish there were more McGinnis Schools out there to provide the kindness and support the McGinnis family provided to mine. Thank you so much for all of the fond memories.
Theresa Edwards
April 11, 2021
Fort Lauderdale owes a debt of gratitude for the services and care the McGinnis School provided for SO many years to the community.
McGinnis School set a high bar for care.
I too knew John as "Mr."...he never missed a thing...always with a watchful eye and a kind word.
John gave me the job of driving the ski boats on the lake and I LOVED IT! To this day I have such fond memories of us both behind the wheel of our boats weaving around the lake pulling the kids on their Waterskies and yes sometimes huddled with the kids under the house while storms passed.
He did like to tell a story or two.
Thank you John/Joyce for all those great years!
Joyce, Molly, Patrick, and McGinnis Family you are in my thoughts.
John a Life Well Lived!
Debbie Martin
April 11, 2021
“Mister” as John was affectionaly known to the Sajdak and Galatis families, was instrumental in raising Barney and Rachel Sajdak and Andrew Galatis throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Our condolences go out to Mrs. McGinnis, Molly McGinnis and the rest of the McGinnis family
Ted Galatis
April 9, 2021
A wonderful man that was a blessing to our families
Frances Holland
April 9, 2021
John is responsible for making the quality of our family’s life better than it otherwise would have been. His passion for water skiing, unshakable determination and strong work ethic created the McGinnis water ski school. The 3 of us have many fond memories skiing and socializing at the site he established. We always respected John for his straight forward opinions and no nonsense approach to life. We will particularly miss his water skiing stories. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Joyce, J.P., Molly, Ann, Kelly, Sammy and Sarah. So sorry for your loss.
Cliff, Judy and Chantal Singer
Singer Family
April 9, 2021
Wow, John and your school was my childhood. I still remember the play ground, watching cartoons in the afternoon(Kimba - the white lion, which was the basis for the Lion King) and scrubbing the cots. I have missed ya'll for many years and my deepest condolences to the family Joyce, Molly and Patrick.
Dan LaVault
April 9, 2021
John and Joyce were like second parents to my brother and I. I went to McGinnis school from the ages of 2-12. Both made my childhood memorable! My heart goes out to Patrick, Molly, and Joyce, as well as the rest of the family. I was in town a week too early or I would be there! Love you all! The mark you made in my life is immeasurable!
Heide Wittchow
April 7, 2021
I will really miss the phone calls on any and all subjects, especially old cars and Hot Rods. We have been friends since the age of 5, 81 years.
Peace to you from Richard B. & Carole G
Richard Batchelor
April 5, 2021
Joyce, we were are so sorry to hear about John. Dakota and Taylor adored him.
You both helped us raised them.
Gator and I saw him a while ago at Propect shopping center with his car. My goodness he did smile when he was happy. Our prayers our with the family and extended family.
The Carter’s
Vickie Carter
April 2, 2021
My boys, Glenn and JR, went to McGinnis school. I always knew they were safe there. RIP John. Sandy Richards
April 2, 2021
Oh the memories! I worked at the McGinnis School for a couple of years and it was one of my most memorable jobs. Mr. truly cared about the children in attendance and strived to guide and educate them. The one memory that I still think about today was his desire to teach the boys about respect and treating others with respect. That included respect for the country and upholding what some may feel were antiquated habits. For example, a boy/gentlemen removing their hat when entering a building. Another value that I personally appreciated was his love for this country and gave us the ability to say the Pledge of Allegiance each morning at the school with the children. He was a man filled with stories and loved to share them, typically with a message or purpose to them. Condolences to Joyce and the McGinnis family.
Renee Moisan
April 2, 2021
My family has lived across the lake from John and Joyce since they moved to the neighborhood. John was a very interesting man with many passions.. he loved life and lived it to the max. May he rest in peace , look down upon his family and help them get through this difficult time. Our deepest condolences to Joyce and the family. We will always remember his drive by beep the horn and wave! John will be missed by all that knew him.
Heinz & Mona Bodmet
April 1, 2021
Joyce, our deepest condolences to you and your family. Our prayers and thoughts are with you. (Your Broadview Park neighbors) You and John have been a big influence to our neighborhood.
Jim and Barbara Smith
March 31, 2021
Rita & I would like to express our appreciation to John and Joyce who, along with their loving and dedicated staff, had such a profound impact on the development of our daughter, Tamara Parks. The McGinnis School was, in our opinion, the gold standard of childcare in Broward County, because of John and Joyce's business vision, on how high quality, family centered childcare services, should be delivered.
Our daughters pictured are: Tamara on left, Chelsea on right.
Bob and Rita Parks, Boca Raton, FL
Bob and Rita Parks
March 31, 2021
RIP John, one of a kind. Our thoughts and prayers with Joyce, Patrick and Molly.
Ken and Maureen Fengler
March 31, 2021
He will be missed.
Gordon and Sandra Browne from Davis Plumbing
March 31, 2021
Thank you for being a positive presence in my life. I was at your school in the 70s. I learned to water ski at age 4. You truly helped so many kids. God bless you.
Lisa Browne
March 31, 2021
I went to McGinnis school before elementary school. Loved going there, they actually taught preschoolers instead of just babysitting. I will be 56 this year so it was quite a while ago...My sister also went there and continued going after school once in elementary. I have a few friends that also went there.
Condolences to the family.
Debbie Harp (Browne)
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