James F. Garvey Jr., 79, homebuilder, mechanical contractor and veteran

August 23, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

James F. Garvey Jr., a retired mechanical contractor and homebuilder, died of liver cancer Tuesday at his home in Catonsville. He was 79.

Born in Irvington, he grew up in Catonsville, where his parents' home on Rolling Road, "Mary Oaks," is now the site of Catonsville Senior Center. He attended St. Joseph's Monastery School and Mount St. Joseph High School, graduating in 1942.

His studies at Loyola College were interrupted by World War II, when Mr. Garvey entered the Army's specialized training program in civil engineering at Ohio State and Syracuse universities. After service in Italy, he was honorably discharged in 1946 and returned to Loyola to earn a degree in chemistry in 1947.

He met his wife of 54 years, the former Mary Murray, while he was active with the Catholic Mission Veterans Crusade, she said.

With his brother C. Godfrey Garvey of Ellicott City, Mr. Garvey operated his father's Wholesale Plumbing & Heating Co. in Irvington, until their father closed the business. He then worked as a salesman for Raub Supply and the J.F. Roberts Supply Co. before starting his own business in the early 1960s, J.F. Garvey Plumbing & Heating Co.

About 1980, Mr. Garvey became a partner in Manor Ridge Construction Co., building homes off Belair Road and in Catonsville Manor, his wife said. About 1982, he became a project manager and maintenance supervisor for Greenbelt Homes Inc., retiring in 1997.

Mr. Garvey also taught plumbing and carpentry in Baltimore County schools, and at Anne Arundel and Howard community colleges.

He was a scoutmaster of Troops 332 and 336, and an active member of St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church from 1955 to 1969, when his family moved into his parents' home and he joined St. Mark Roman Catholic Church. There he was involved in the parish council and the Catholic Youth Organization, and worked on construction of the gymnasium and other projects. In 1981, he joined the Catholic Community of Relay and served in various lay ministries.

His hobbies included camping and woodworking that won ribbons at the Maryland State Fair, and he had recently become interested in his family genealogy.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Saturday at the Church of the Ascension in Halethorpe.

In addition to his wife and brother, he is survived by three sons, James F. Garvey III of Woodlawn, Colo., Daniel L. Garvey of Manassas, Va., and Thomas M. Garvey of Elkridge; five daughters, Kathleen Norris of Severna Park, Jean Butler of Elizabeth City, N.C., Tricia Smith of Willards, and Mary Price and Peggy Atkinson, both of Catonsville; three sisters, Mary Gertrude Kirsch of Airville, Pa., and Mary Elizabeth Hession and Mary Jane McManus, both of Catonsville; 18 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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