Biographies

Father James E. McDermott, MM

Born: April 24, 1899
Ordained: June 19, 1927
Died: May 14, 1978

Father James E. McDermott died about 8 a.m. today, Pentecost Sunday, (May 14) at City Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. He had come east from his residence at Los Altos to spend a little time with his brother Frank in Worcester, and had been planning to make the retreat at St. Teresa’s at the end of May.

Fr. Jim was born April 24, 1899 in Worcester, the ninth of 10 children. He studied at “Old Saint John’s” Parochial School, and graduated from St. John’s High School in 1917. He studied at Business College in Worcester the last part of 1917, held several jobs, and served in the Student Army Training Corps at Holy Cross College at the end of World War I, from October through December 1918. Joining Maryknoll the fall of 1920, he studied first for a year at the Venard, and afterwards at Maryknoll, New York, and was ordained June 19, 1927. After a few months at the Seattle Procure, he was assigned to and worked in Kongmoon, China, from the end of 1927 until 1937, except for a decennial period on promotion in Fall River Diocese the first part of 1936. He had proved himself to be such a fine promoter that he was “borrowed” again for promotion in mid-1937, and this work became “permanent” as of June 1938. He spent the decade 1937-47 at the Bedford-Boston House, was Director of Promotion at Los Angeles from 1947-56, at Cincinnati from 1956-65, and served at the San Francisco House from 1965-71. In “retirement” at Los Altos since 1971, he continued as a “pinch-hitter” on promotion dates in recent years. Many Maryknollers in overseas mission work have good reason to be very grateful to Fr. McDermott for his consistent and great generosity to their work.

On the occasion of his Golden Jubilee as a priest in 1977, Fr. McDermott wrote: “I thank God heartily for 50 golden and happy years. I was happy in China. I was happy in Boston. I was happy in Southern California. I was happy in the Ohio Valley. Now I am happy here. Thanks be to God for all His Graces and Blessings.”