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William Merrigan McGrath

December 18, 1949 ~ August 9, 2021 (age 71)


William Merrigan McGrath of Natick passed away on Monday August 9, 2021 at age 71.

Son of the late William Merrigan McGrath and Margaret (Keith). Beloved Husband of 44 years of Barbara Barbieri McGrath. Devoted father of Emily Raffile and her husband Jason of Framingham and William “Louis” McGrath and his wife Julie of Hopkinton. Brother of Patricia Alderman and her husband Peter of TN, Janet Ganley and her husband Neal of NH, and the late Michelle McGrath. Proud grandfather of Willa Raffile and Leo McGrath. Son- in-law of Dorothy Barbieri. Will leaves behind beloved nieces and nephews including Chris, Shaun, and Jason Alderman all of TN; Gina Barbieri of Harvard, Albert Barbieri IV of Utah, George Barbieri of Plymouth, Lindsay Barbieri of VT, Kiley Barbieri of Natick and Jordan Barbieri of Ohio.

Barbara's words: I fell in love with Will when I saw him, from a car, as he was walking across a parking lot. We were married 6 months later. Will was ill for quite a while. His self-diagnosis was, “All due to “ ‘clean livin’ ”. He did the best he could and always tried hard to find humor in any situation. He liked to tell stories and if you had the patience to listen most of them were fairly entertaining. Will loved his longtime friends and considered himself privileged they were in his life. He often shared memories of his adventures with them. He was especially happy that his son and daughter found love. His first grandchild, Willa James, was born in the first spring of Covid, to our daughter, Emily and son-in-law, Jason. Emily never complained about the isolation and not being able to take the baby out anywhere in public, but at Covid Christmas, she expressed disappointment to Will for not being able to have a picture taken with Santa. If you knew Will, you know this was the last thing he would volunteer to do. And, even though Santa was tied to an oxygen line, Willa met Santa.

God answered my prayers for Will to be on earth to see his first grandson born. Our son, Louis, and his wife, Julie, became parents to Leo Anthony McGrath, born two days before Will passed. Will was thrilled to hear the news. Though Will didn’t have the chance to meet him in person, he saw many pictures in the two days following his birth. He was at peace knowing that Leo, Julie and Louis were all healthy (and really tired).

Will was not afraid of death. His passing was quick and peaceful - in my arms. Will did not believe in God, but if pushed to “define” God, he said it would be “the good in all people”. He believed that he would become “energy” and promised “I would feel him.” He was by nature complicated and a thinker. His lifelong pondering to the question of “What is the meaning of life?” was simple. “The answer is Love.”

Music was a huge part of Will’s very existence - (often too loud) and provided much comfort during his illness. I thought once Louis moved out, life would be a lot quieter. However, our neighbors in Wellesley remarked, “We’ll miss the music!” Therefore, in lieu of anything please listen to your favorite song (wicked loud) and if you feel the need to donate, choose your favorite charity.

I told Will a long time ago that in his obituary I was going to write: “Will never passed a lemonade stand without stopping.” Even if we were late for our destination and I was aggravated. When our children were young, a friend once told me that, “As a parent, you are either a warning or an example”. I believe that’s true. But, I also believe that you can be the best of both. Will was a good man.

It was an incredible journey.

There will be an intimate gathering of family and friends in Will’s memory.







To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William, please visit our floral store.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for William

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