Search the Directory

Rev. Msgr. John T. McGraw

Deceased: 2023-07-31


Seminary Graduation Year: 1957

October 19, 2023. Services for the Rev. Msgr. John T. McGraw, 92, of Syracuse, who died July 31 at The Nottingham Independent Living Home, have been scheduled for next week.

Rev. Msgr. John T. McGraw, 92, of Syracuse, died peacefully at The Nottingham Independent Living Home on July 31, 2023. Father McGraw was born in Syracuse to the late James and Mary (Dadey) McGraw. Fr. McGraw grew up in DeWitt graduating from Cathedral High School and attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester New York. Fr. McGraw did his theological studies at North American College in Rome, Italy and was ordained in 1957 at St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. In returning to the United States, Fr. McGraw was associate pastor at St. John the Baptist Church. He earned a degree in Canon Law at the Catholic University in Washington, DC and was assigned to the Chancery working at the Marriage Tribunal. He was secretary to Bishop David Cunningham and Assistant Chancellor. He was then Chancellor of the Diocese of Syracuse. He attended all sessions of Vatican II as a theological expert who translated the Latin document into English for the American Bishops. After his work in the chancery, Fr. McGraw became Rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for 10 years. He was pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in LaFayette, and before retiring in 2001he was Chaplain at the Hutchings Psychiatric Center. After retirement Fr. McGraw celebrated weekend Masses at St. John the Evangelist Church in Syracuse and St. Ann’s Church in Manlius.

Fr. McGraw’s compassion and commitment to social justice was infinite. As a young priest, Fr. McGraw fought to reduce poverty and improve civil rights, and he participated in Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington. In addition to advocating for social justice locally, he was intimately involved with SATHI Nepal’s mission to break the cycle of poverty and oppression through education and income generation for marginalized and at-risk youth in Nepal, personally sponsoring education scholarships and taking great interest in their challenges and accomplishments.

Fr. McGraw took great pride in raising his golden retrievers (Cara, Birdee, Molly, McGee, and KT) who had him on a strict walking and play schedule. In addition, Fr. McGraw enjoyed Shakespeare and classic theater, being with family and close friends, traveling, skiing and Manhattans with a twist.

Fr. McGraw will be remembered by loved ones – who considered him a friend, a father figure, an uncle or chosen family member – for his kindness, wisdom, humility, generosity and unconditional love.

Fr. McGraw was predeceased by his siblings, Mary, William, Joseph, James, Raymond and Alice. He is survived by his sister, Teresa McGraw Valerino; and 29 nieces and nephews. Fr. McGraw is also survived by his dearest friends, Dolora Kurtz and Brigid Meer; and their nieces and nephews, Brandon, Kristen, Sean, Mark, Patty, Michael, Kathy, and Beth Ann.

A calling hour will be from 6:00 to 7:00 pm on Tuesday, October 24 at Holy Cross Church, 4112 E. Genesee St., DeWitt. The Vigil for a Priest will follow the calling hour at 7:00 pm. A Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, October 25 at 10:00 AM at Holy Cross Church. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, DeWitt.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Fr. McGraw may be made to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 259 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse, NY 13202.For guest book, please visit: