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Kevin McGinty Celebrated in Story and Song

[image / McGinty family]

Popular WCPN radio broadcaster and Cleveland Irish cultural activist Kevin McGinty's death on September 15, came as a shock to his family and friends.  The debilitating efffects of Parkinson's disease had taken its toll in recent years, but his passing came much too soon.  For this special radio program, we spoke with just a small sampling of the many people whose lives were touched by Kevin.

Margaret Lynch of the Irish American Archives Society prepared this biography:

Kevin McGinty was a loyal and longtime member of the Mayo Society of Greater Cleveland, serving as treasurer for 22 years.  A native of Castlebar, McGinty was born in 1942, came to the Cleveland in 1960, and established a successful decorative painting business here.  McGinty quickly became involved in a variety of Irish organizations, becoming an ever-present and always supportive member of Cleveland’s Irish American community.  He was a member of the St. Pat’s Gaelic Football team that won five consecutive national championships from 1962 to 1966. 

Kevin McGinty, in the lower left, poses with his teammates. [image / P.J. McIntyre's]

With Jim Goggin, he was chairman when Cleveland hosted the national Gaelic games in 1989. He joined the Cleveland Pioneers Total Abstinence Association and became a lifelong member.  Under the auspices of the Pioneers, he began organizing theater productions under the title “The Irish Players.” McGinty brought plays by Brian Friel and other modern Irish writers to Cleveland, and the group also performed several times in Ireland. 

[image / McGinty family]

In addition to serving as treasurer of the Mayo Society, he served as the first treasurer of the Irish American Archives Society in 1994 and was named an IAAS Trustee Emeritus in recognition of his valued and loyal service.  In 1990 McGinty joined British host Joe Nichols as the Irish host of the “Sounds of Britain and Ireland” on WCPN radio. With co-host Joe Nichols, he produced a 1993 documentary about local Irish fiddler, Tom McCaffrey.  He made an appearance in the film The Yank, produced by Sean Lackey in 2012.  He contributed to the success of events at both the Irish American Club East Side and the West Side Irish American Club.  Kevin McGinty’s recognition as Grand Marshal of Cleveland’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2013 affirmed his record as a true and essential friend to the Irish in Cleveland.   

Margaret Lynch, Ph.D.

Father Jim O'Donnell

Nell Buckley, Cleveland Gaelic Society

Chuck Campisi, former technical producer for the Sounds of Britain and Ireland

Brendan Ring, proprietor Nighttown

Bill Chambers, actor and musician

Tom Rizzo, weekly sports report writer


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David C. Barnett was a senior arts & culture reporter for Ideastream Public Media. He retired in October 2022.