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CHICAGO (CBS) — Paul McGrath, a seasoned Chicago journalist and deputy mayor under Jane Byrne, passed away last week. He was 75.
Mr. McGrath died Wednesday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He was remembered last week in the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, both of which claimed him as a member of their reporting staff over the years.
Born and raised on in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Mr. McGrath attended Tuley High School – a predecessor to Clemente High School – and began his reporting career at the old City News Bureau wire service. He was hired by the Tribune a couple of years later, according to a Tribune obituary by Rick Kogan last week.
After working for the Tribune for nearly a decade, Mr. McGrath became an investigative reporter for the Sun-Times, where writer Maureen O’Donnell credited him in an obituary story last week with having a knack for making “connections about money and political influence that some might call ‘the Chicago Way.’”
After a stint with Chicago Magazine, Mr. McGrath joined the sphere of Chicago politics, joining Byrne’s campaign for mayor in 1979, and becoming deputy mayor after she was elected, the newspapers reported.
The Sun-Times reported that Mr. McGrath was the one who pushed for the policy change that ended police raids on gay bars.
He also crafted the city’s 1982 ordinance that banned handguns, and lamented the McDonald v. Chicago case that forced the city to toss out the ban two years ago.
“If our gun control law is struck down, there will be more guns,” Mr. McGrath told the old cbs2chicago.com in 2010. “Do we want more guns?”
Mr. McGrath also covered politics for Chicago Magazine. He was also a professional photographer and taught at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Mr. McGrath is survived by a daughter, Kelly, who works as the director of marketing and communications at the Newberry Library. A younger daughter, Molly, produces art for Project Onward – the studio and gallery at the Chicago Cultural Center for artists with developmental disabilities.
He is also survived by a granddaughter and a sister, Patricia Eileen Jankovsky, the Tribune reported.
A memorial service for Mr. McGrath was being planned last week, the newspapers reported.