John James McGrory

September 26, 1961 ~ August 31, 2021 (age 59)


With his heart full of love and life, John passed away with his loving wife K. Rachel Keil by his side on August 31 at age 59.  John was born in Bronx, New York on September 26, 1961, to his loving parents, Phyllis and John McGrory, Sr.  He was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, terminal brain cancer, in November 2020.  He passed nine months later in his beach home on Vashon Island, Washington. 

Love of nature was an essential aspect of John’s being.  His  life was full of adventure and friendship in the outdoors.  John began exploring with friends and family in the woods of New York and the peaks of Ireland.  Through scouting he gained a love of camping, hiking, and canoeing.  John was one of the youngest Eagle Scouts in New York state.  Scouting is a McGrory family tradition.

 John’s curiosity and his hunger to know the world kept him expanding his interests and  knowledge.  He studied geology at SUNY New Paltz and learned rock climbing in the Shawangun.  John continued his education at University of Washington, earning two Bachelors of Science degrees. He remained captivated by the adventure of “bushwhacking” and summiting mountains.  John summited Mount Rainer many times and the highest peak in the Americas, Aconcagua in Argentina.  Cycling became another outdoor passion. John raced bikes, was a skilled bike mechanic and eventually a bike shop owner.  His friends from those early cycling years remained his lifelong brothers. Never one to miss an opportunity for a novel experience, John quickly volunteered to be an extra in the classic movie, Harry and the Hendersons. He ultimately followed a career path in computer programing, working many years at Microsoft.   

He loved his time with others sharing jokes and stories. His mind worked quickly and so did his wit.  His keen insight fed a clever and ever-present sense of humor. His time with friends and family often included listening to music, talking about music, and trading music trivia. His knowledge of all aspects of music was influenced in the beginning when, at age 13 he signed up for the Columbia House Record offer of “13 albums for 1 cent”. 

John adored his children, Bryn and Sean. They had a close relationship sharing humor, love of the outdoors and just being together.  John was proud of who they have become, and his days were brightened by their visits.

John is survived by his wife K. Rachel Keil, his children Bryn and Sean, his mother Phyllis J. McGrory, his maternal uncle Rev. John Kelly, his ex-wife Tiffany Allesina, his siblings Brian (Lori Stobart), Kelly-Anne Kahn (Matthew), and Glenn (Anik Scannell) his seven nieces and nephews (Conor, Aidan, Ryan, Lauren, Noel, Solenn, and Carys).

John was preceded in death by his father John McGrory of Pettigo, Donegal, Ireland and Pearl River, New York.  They both found freedom and joy in their love of climbing to the top of the mountain.

Always taking the path less traveled on the trails of his life.  Taking those around him on a journey of exploration, adventure, and fun.  John would leave all he met with a story and a smile.  He never lost the twinkle in his eye or stopped making us laugh, lightening our hearts and his too.


Due to the current pandemic situation, memorial services will be postponed until early summer 2022. Donations in John’s honor can be made to a children’s literacy program or to 2nd Cycle Community Bike Shop, Tacoma WA.




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