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James Philip Mcpherson

James Philip McPherson
Bradley Beach, New Jersey
Age: None of your d*** business

James Philip McPherson passed away of natural causes on December 8, 2020, in Alexandria, Virginia, at the home of his son Brendan surrounded by his loving family. Jim was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on April 22, 1925, and came to the United States as a young boy with his mother Mary, a furniture polisher in the Glasgow shipyards, and brother Malcolm. They arrived aboard the S.S. California and disembarked through Ellis Island. They joined his father John, a carpenter for Western Electric, who emigrated from Scotland a few years earlier, and resided in North Arlington, New Jersey. After graduating from Queen of Peace High School—where he was later inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame as the quarterback of the football team—Jim joined the Navy at age 17. He spent three years as a signalman on convoy duty with the U.S. Navy Armed Guard, in the North Atlantic, during World War II. His exceptional seamanship skills were employed to scuttle the SS Pennsylvanian in July 1944 to create a breakwater for a Mulberry harbor being constructed to support the Normandy invasion. Jim was a kind, humble, and honest man. He did not talk about his Normandy experience, not because of some tragedy of war, but because he said his ship “was so far back in the D-Day fleet, we were closer to invading Britain than France.” After the war,
Jim served briefly as an Able Seaman on merchant ships before returning to New Jersey and meeting the love of his life, a Jersey City girl named Marguerite Ann Murphy. Jim and Marguerite married in 1959 and Jim worked as a driver for most of the breweries in Newark—Ballantine, Rheingold, Pabst, and Anheuser- Busch—over the next thirty years. Jim and Marguerite moved to Bradley Beach, where they raised their six children and were faithful communicants in their usual small pew at the back of the Church of the Ascension, where he attended mass daily. Their house on Brinley Avenue became a second home in the summertime to many of his children’s classmates while on leave from the Coast Guard Academy or Naval Academy, even when none of his children were in town.

He loved Bradley Beach, where he was known for freely offering “advice” to council members at town hall meetings. Jim belonged to American Legion Post 346 in Neptune and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 226 in Oakhurst. Jim was not a thrifty Scot (okay, he was), but he refused to compromise on value. He famously brought his family to SeaWorld in Florida in 1977 and turned around at the admissions gate when the attendant tried to charge the family of eight $6.50 per person. “Get back into the car. I am not paying $52 to see fish. We live on the Jersey Shore.” On
the road, Pop was famous for his “shortcuts,” although he never took the same route twice! Jim ran a tight ship. A “snow day” was not a day off. It meant that his five boys and one girl would have to trudge up the street to shovel the driveways and sidewalks of the local Catholic church and several elderly neighbors. All of Jim and Marguerite’s sons joined the military so they could sleep in later, have fewer chores, have less strict discipline, and eat good home-cooked meals. Jim had a special bond with his daughter Monica. She was certainly the most attractive and smartest of the McPherson children, earning both Masters and Law degrees. Monica was always remembered as kind and sweet, and she passed away far too soon. Jim loved his children and never missed a home or away game for soccer, softball, track, or baseball at Asbury Park High School. Jim liked cheap draft beer, Monmouth Park, and the Giants. Jim disliked expensive draft beer,
Monmouth Park, and the Giants. Jim is predeceased by his brother Malcolm, a WWII Marine, and sister-in-law Miriam; his daughter Monica; and his beloved wife Marguerite, with whom he spent more than fifty years exploring the darkest taverns at the sunny Jersey Shore, following a few simple rules: 1) sit at the short end of the bar; 2) drink draft beer; 3) drink Budweiser; 4) order a pitcher; 5) drink from a small glass; 6) pay with cash; 7) pay for each round as you go; and 8) find a pretty bartender. After Marguerite’s passing, Jim moved to The Arbors in Spring Lake in 2017, where the wonderful staff treated him like family. His longevity can be attributed to his many friends at the Shore, some whom may not have known his name, but always made room at the bar for the old man in the Fedora. He is survived by five sons, all graduates of military service academies—Captain James B. (USCG, Ret.) and Mrs. Molly M. McPherson and their children U.S. Coast Guard Academy Cadet Rory, Kathleen, Conor, and Quinn of Kittery Point, Maine; John L. and Jodie J. McPherson and son Connor of Alexandria, Virginia; Patrick D. and Kirstin E. McPherson and children Cormac, Delaney, Kylie, and Declan of Alexandria, Virginia; Rear Admiral Brendan C. (USCG) and Mrs. Barbara M. McPherson and children Brendan, Erin, Mary, and Meghan of Alexandria, Virginia; and Michael F. and Kathy A. McPherson and daughters Morgan and Kara of Tampa, Florida—as well as his nephew Malcolm and Patricia McPherson and their children Meghan and Mallory, and niece Susan and Theodore Huber, all of Lyndhurst, New Jersey. In lieu of flowers, Jim asks that you please find a pretty bartender and tip her especially well.

Arrangements are being handled by the Cunningham Turch Funeral Home, Alexandria, Virginia. A private Mass of Christian Burial for the immediate family will be held at the St. Louis Catholic
Church, Alexandria, Virginia, to be followed by a public celebration of Jim’s life at the Jersey Shore at a later date.

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