John B. McCue, 88, of Kittanning, died Sunday, April 11, 2010, after a long illness. Mr. McCue was a World War II veteran, attorney and former state legislator. Mr. McCue was born June 22, 1921, in Ford City. He attended St. Mary's Parochial School and graduated from Ford City High School where he was awarded the American Legion Medal in the eighth grade. He lived his entire life in the Kittanning area, with a life devoted to service to his family, his community and his country. He and his late wife, Mary (Clapper) McCue, resided with their two sons in North Buffalo Township. The McCue family was among the founders of Armstrong County more than 200 years ago. He liked to say that he achieved his lifelong dream by becoming an attorney, but he did so much more in his life. A member of the "Greatest Generation," that believed in sacrifice for their country, his life was fitted with achievements and superlatives, from his early years right up to the end. He served in World War II as a ball turret gunner on a B-17 plane, flying 32 missions over France and Germany. "Once returning from a bomb run one engine was hit and we couldn't keep up with the group," McCue recounted several years ago. "A P51 fighter escorted us to Belgium and we were able to limp into Antwerp. After that we renamed the plane 'Savior of Antwerp.'" After the war, he joined the National Guard and was called back to service during the Korean War. By then he had obtained his law degree and served as a judge advocate officer. After 35 years in the Army, National Guard and Army Reserve, he retired as a colonel. Pennsylvania awarded him the honorary rank of brigadier general. He often spoke to schools and other groups, usually wearing the sergeant wings he wore as part of the B-17 crew, leaving home his many medals, battle stars and his colonel's oak leaves. He said he did that to honor those he served with in the 94th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. "I knew when I was in sixth grade that I wanted to become a lawyer," McCue said. "My parents and teachers encouraged me to follow my dream and here I am." He graduated from Penn State University and from the University of Pittsburgh Law School. Mr. McCue practiced law in Kittanning for 50 years with his partner and friend, Albert Bertocchi. Since the location of his law practice was on the top floor of the Empire Building, it was not unheard of to see him meet his clients that were up in years in their cars on Market Street or he would even make a house call if needed. For 25 years he served as the solicitor of Ford City Borough. He served Armstrong County's 60th District as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for two terms, eight years. Later, he was named to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Council of Trustees and served for 10 years. He was a member of the Armstrong Educational Trust, the advisory link between the university and the community, from its inception until 2001, serving as president for eight years. Mr. McCue was a member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and, in 1992, was inducted into the Ford City Hall of Fame. His military decorations include the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, the European Theatre Ribbon with four battle stars, Germany Occupation and U.S. Commendation Medal among others. Mr. McCue loved Armstrong County, especially Ford City where he was proud of the diversity, once saying, "I don't know of any other town in the world where so many ethnic groups came together. It has brought us an understanding of more peoples and a tolerance to their differences between us ... what a wonderful mix of languages." After his retirement, his interests in the law and traveling continued with studies at Cambridge University and traveling all over the world with the Elderhostel Group. He began putting together notes to publish his memoirs, but was unable to continue due to his illness. He is survived by his son, Patrick A. McCue, of North Augustus, N.C. Pat is a production director of the Augusta Chronicle and is a former youth hockey star who was in the initial group inducted into the Armstrong Hockey Hall of Fame. His other son, Michael B. McCue, of Harrisburg, died suddenly, Feb. 11, 2010. Michael, 54, was a 34-year employee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives where he was the soundboard technician on the House floor. He is preceded in death by his loving wife of 51 years, Mary Helen (Clapper) McCue, who passed away Nov. 1, 2001. Visitation from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the MANTINI FUNERAL HOME. Prayer service at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Service at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Mary Our Lady of Guadalupe, Kittanning, with Father Daniel Blout. Interment in St. Marys Cemetery, Ford City.
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Published in The Valley News Dispatch on Apr. 13, 2010.