WCPN Personality Kevin McGinty Dies
A long-time WCPN radio personality and noted advocate of Irish-American culture has died. Kevin McGinty, co-host of the Sounds of Britain and Ireland, passed away this weekend at the age of 78.
Kevin McGinty's distinctive laugh was well-known to listeners of the program he co-hosted with Joe Nicholls on 90.3 for over thirty years.
Joe Nicholls & Kevin McGinty
(David C. Barnett / ideastream)
But his jovial demeanor belied the tough life he left in Ireland when he emigrated to Cleveland in 1960.
"I came here out of total neccessity," he said in a 2002 interview. "I was one of nine, extremely poor from a small town in Mayo."
The town of Castlebar in County Mayo to be specific. McGinty initially found work as a house-painting apprentice which he turned into a profession. His athletic abilities landed him a spot on the St. Patrick's Gaelic Football team, winners of five consecutive national championships from 1962 to 1965.
St. Pat's Gaelic Football team 1964-65 (Kevin McGinty, lower left) (photo / P.J. McIntyre's)
McGinty grew to become a fixture in the local Irish-American community as the founder of the Cleveland Irish Players theater troupe, treasurer of the Mayo Society, and the 2013 Grand Marshall of the Cleveland St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Through it all, McGinty was a strong advocate for his native culture. For instance, he said it was his theatrical mission to stage authentic Irish dramas and eliminate some stereotypical ideas he found in American audiences.
"Their attitude towards Ireland and the Irish was that from John Ford films or "Going My Way" with Bing Crosby and those silly notions of leprechauns and shillelaghs," he said.
Kevin McGinty lived a life dedicated to countering stereotypes, including his life-long membership in the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. "I never took a drink, because I saw what it did to families," he said.
Kevin McGinty will be honored in a funeral mass Friday, September 21st at St. Colman Church.