Philip J. McNamara, 95, of Centerville, MA, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving family on October 4, 2019.
Philip was born in Fitchburg, MA the son of George W. McNamara and Elizabeth (Taylor) McNamara. At age 18 he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps and served a distinguished and continuous 42+ years of Military Service to his country.
After World War II he attended and graduated from Northeastern University in Boston where he met his wife, Margaret (Peggy) O’Shea. (County Kerry, Ireland). They were married at Sacred Heart Church in Fitchburg in 1952 and were married for over 59 years before she passed away in 2012. Phil had deep religious beliefs in which he instilled in his sons. Phil lived the Catholic Cursillo program and received Holy Communion at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville, MA.
Phil’s military career included active duty time serving in the Army Air Corps in England and France during World War II and later in Phalsbourg France during the Berlin Crisis from 1961-1962. After World War II, he joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard in August of 1946, at Logan Airport. In 1968 the unit relocated to Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod.
Philip retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Air Force and Massachusetts Air National Guard in 1984, with over 8,500 flying hours. He was the former commander of the 102nd Civil Engneering Squadron and the longest serving Base Civil Engineer (1969-1984) at Otis Air National Guard Base, MA. He was on USAF flying status up until his 60th birthday and had amassed over 8,500 flying hours. Phil attended the U.S. Air Force Air War College and received a Master’s Degree in Political Science.
He was awarded the following military decorations: The Distinguished Flying Cross, World War II Victory Medal, Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Unit Badge, European & Mediterranean Theater Ribbon with 3 Battle Stars, 5 Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, Meritorious Service Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, AF Commendation award with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, AF Achievement Award, Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Air Force Longevity Service Award, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
At a special D-Day remembrance ceremony in Hyannis MA, (June 6th, 2014) Phil was awarded the French “Legion d’Honneur” Medal. This medal honors extraordinary contributions and is France’s highest distinction. Phil flew the P-47 “Thunderbolt” aircraft during World War II to liberate France. Phil was appointed to the rank of Knight of the Legion of Honor which was personally presented to him by the French Consulate General along with the Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard. Phil remained actively involved with the Massachusetts Air National Guard as founding member and later President of the Otis Aero Club, providing civilians and military personnel and their dependents an opportunity to learn how to fly.
There was rarely a time when anyone talked to him without a quick story about airplanes and flying. His passion for flying was ever present in both his professional and personal life. Philip enjoyed and taught many students how to fly. He was an FAA Certified Flight Instructor and received the prestigious FAA “Wright Brothers Award” in 2007 for accumulating over 50 years of accident free flying.
Phil and Peggy loved traveling, including visiting her homeland of Ireland. One of his other favorite trips was visiting the annual International Seaplane Fly-In held in Greenville, Maine. He and his sons also designed and built a cabin near the Greenville airport.
Philip often worked behind the scenes to help many youth and veterans through the Boy Scouts of America and the USO. He was a lifetime member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard Historical Association. Besides flying, his hobbies included fishing, shooting sports, and gardening when he and his wife wintered in Florida. He also enjoyed spending time with his 9 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
Devoted father of Philip G. McNamara and his wife Clare McNamara of Middleborough, MA, Patrick McNamara and his wife Erica Waasdorp of Marstons Mills, MA, Kevin McNamara and Melanie McNamara (deceased) of Kensington, NH, John McNamara and his wife Laurie of Centerville MA and Brian McNamara (deceased).
Cherished brother of John T. McNamara (deceased) of Fitchburg MA and sister, Elizabeth Olson (deceased) of Chambersburg, PA. Loving grandfather of Patrick II, Brendan, Mary, Meghan, Kevin and Kerry, Philip-Og’, Jack and Erin McNamara, great-grandfather of Kenan, Saoirse, Tadgh McNamara and Sean, Joseph and Liam Elliott.
Visiting hours will be on Monday October 7, 2019 from 4-8PM in the John- Lawrence Funeral Home, 3778 Falmouth Rd. Route 28, Marstons Mills, MA. A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday October 8, 2019 at 11:30AM in Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church , 230 South Main Street, Centerville, MA. with his nephew, Rev. James O’Driscoll, officiating. A committal service will follow in the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, MA at 1:30 PM.
Memorial contributions may be made to COFAR www.cofar.org , Massachusetts Military Support Foundation www.massmilitarysupportfoundation.org , Cape Cod Military Officers Association www.capecodmoa.angelfire.com , the Cape Area Pilot’s Association www.capepilot.org , the Massachusetts Air and Space Museum www.massairspace.org or a charity of your choice. .