Edward P. McNamee Jr., 82, of Port Haywood, Va., went peacefully on his final adventure while at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester, Va., on Christmas Eve, 2012.
Born in Mineola, N.Y., to Edward and Lillian on May 21, 1930, Edward McNamee was a grandson to Patrick and Bridget Clarke McNamee who left County Tyrone, Ireland, in search of prosperity and religious freedom in the late 1800s.
Edward’s adventures began when he ran away from home for a day at the age of seven, noting once that he would have been gone longer but he missed his dog. His next adventure would not be until he graduated high school in Farmingdale, N.Y., and joined the Navy in 1947 where he served on the battleship USS Missouri as an Electrician’s Mate. After leaving the Navy, he worked as an electrician and also played semi-professional football in New York, trying out as a fullback for the New York Football Giants, now the N.Y. Giants.
At the start of the Korean War, Edward joined the U.S. Merchant Marine Service sailing on ships that served the war effort, and later in the Mediterranean Sea. A quick study, and committed to self-improvement, Edward rose rapidly from the positions of Wiper and Oiler to Chief Electrician. Occasionally, there would be stretches of time between sailing trips, so Edward made use of that time by learning to become a poker dealer in the legal card clubs in Southern California. Playing poker would become one of Edward’s many hobbies.
While on leave from the Merchant Marine in 1953, he met his wife-to-be, Frances Richards, at a church social. After meeting Frances, he gave up his sailing license and married her at the Curé of Ars Roman Catholic Church in Merrick, N.Y., on April 16, 1955.
Edward and Frances moved from Merrick, N.Y. to Miami, Fla., in 1960 to start an appliance repair business, which he operated for about six years. While running that business, Edward found his true calling for his life’s work, to become a vocational education teacher. After several years of attending college in the evening, Edward became a math and air conditioning repair teacher at Lindsey-Hopkins Vocational School in Miami, Fla., in 1967 and retired in 1997. He loved teaching and believed his students should be given the opportunity to learn at their own pace.
Throughout their marriage of 53 years, Edward and Frances shared a common love for animals, and particularly for raising and showing their beloved Collies. In 1959, they bought their first Collie and immersed themselves in learning about raising and showing their dog. That year they founded Tarawood Kennels, where they committed themselves to breeding and raising the finest examples of the Collie breed. They were active members of Collie and all-breed clubs wherever they lived and were founding members of at least two clubs. Edward and Frances bred, raised and showed numerous champion Collies, but they took the greatest pleasure and put a great amount of time into bringing new fanciers into the sport. In 2012, Edward was awarded lifetime membership in the Collie Club of America.
Both Edward and Frances were American Kennel Club judges. Edward was a judge for over 40 years judging at least 65 different breeds. Edward judged all over the United States, Mexico, Canada, South America and the Caribbean, and loved meeting other dog fanciers. During many of those dog shows, Edward and Frances brought their three children, Edward, Kathleen and Lynda. For the children, each dog show was an adventure and the children all developed a love for animals.
Even though raising Collies and judging dog shows was Edward’s primary hobby, Edward had other hobbies that he loved, especially fishing and playing pool. He always felt he was called to the sea and loved salt-water fishing. He owned several boats, but his favorite was a Jersey sea-skiff he rebuilt and fished with his family for several years. As a pool player, he loved travelling to play competitive eight- and nine-ball at regional and national competitions. Improving himself through competition was also a way for him to make new friends. Edward also played competitive bridge, once playing with Omar Sharif, the actor and accomplished bridge player.
Edward and Frances both loved getting in the car and driving wherever the road took them. During one of their many adventures, they found Mathews, Va. Edward made Mathews his final home in 2010 after Frances passed away. He loved the quietude; the water views, the friendly attitude of the community and was very grateful for how he was helped by the community to get comfortable with his new surroundings.
Edward is survived by his son Edward of Springfield, Va.; daughter Lynda of Pompano Beach, Fla., and two granddaughters. His daughter, Kathleen, succumbed to cancer in 2010. Edward is also survived by his brother, Laurence, of Marion, N.C., and sister Maureen of Bayport, N.Y.
Edward would be remembered most by his children for believing that "you have within yourself to achieve whatever you want."
While Edward’s funeral will be held in March in New York on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, a Liturgy of the Word will be held in Edward’s memory, Saturday, Jan. 20, at St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church in Mathews at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Bay Aging (www.BayAging.org) or Hands Across Mathews (mail donations to P.O. Box 1303, Mathews, Va. 23109).