Former head of urban planning department, Joe McGraw passes

Joseph McGraw

Dr. Joseph J. McGraw, Professor Emeritus of the Texas A&M University College of Architecture and first head of the college's Department of Urban Planning, passed away Monday, June 3, 2013 in College Station. He was 86 years old.

The son of Thomas M. and Nora (Kilcoyne) McGraw, Joe was born June 20, 1926 in Cleveland, Ohio, where he lived until 1943 when at age 17, with his parent's permission, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. A World War II veteran, Joe served as corporal in the 55th Fighter Group, 343rd Squadron Ground Crew for the North American P-51 Mustang. He was stationed in southeast England from the Battle of Britain until VE Day.

After the war, Joe earned a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture in 1953 from Oklahoma A&M College, now Oklahoma State University, where he met and married his college sweetheart, Genevieve Johnson. He went on to earn a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from Harvard University in 1956 and later in life a Ph.D. in Education Administration in 1978 from the University of Houston.

Joe joined the Texas A&M University faculty in 1958 and was the first head of the Department of Urban Planning, established when the College of Architecture was founded in 1969 and later merged with the Department of Landscape Architecture.

From 1988 – 2000, he served as director of planning for the College of Medicine at Kuwait University Health Sciences Center. Though he eventually retired, as Professor Emeritus Joe continued to mentor and teach students at Texas A&M through 2011.

Joe's scholarship focused on the well being of people and institutions in the context of a much improved and environmentally sustainable planet. More recently he focused on the planning and design of healthcare facilities and on policy, plans and programs to help ensure these facilities are realized in a sustainable context.

An active member of many organizations, Joe was most proud of his service to the city of College Station as a councilman and member of its Planning and Zoning Commission. Along with his passion for radio-controlled airplanes, Joe was an avid sailor and boat craftsman who sailed the world and earned skipper status.

Joe was preceded in death by his wife, Genevieve McGraw; his parents and all eight of his siblings. He is survived by his seven children: John McGraw, Maureen McGraw Weidner, Maggie McGraw, Marty McGraw, Thomas McGraw, Joseph McGraw and Nora McGraw Dellett; and seven grandchildren: Natalie, Mitchell, Thomas, Sarah, Eric, Bryan and Madison.

The family suggests memorial contributions in Joe's name to the Edward J. Romieniec, FAIA, Endowed Scholarship at the Texas A&M University College of Architecture. Checks should be made payable to the "Texas A&M Foundation" with a note indicating the donation is for the Romieniec scholarship in memory of Joseph McGraw.

 Joe's friends are encouraged to share their memories online.

posted June 6, 2013