2016-04-08 / Obituaries

Thomas McGann

Thomas Valentine (Val) McGann, of Kennebunkport, and Naples, Florida, died in Beverly, Massachusetts, after a long illness on March 26, 2016. He was born in Creagh, Ballinasloe, County Galway, Ireland, the son of the late Tom and Tessie McGann.

A true Renaissance man, Val was a native of Ireland who established himself in America in the 1970s as an internationally recognized painter and athlete, as well as a lover of poetry and music.

In his youth Val won 12 decathlon championships and held the Irish pole vault record for six years. Val remained an athlete throughout his life, loved to kayak, and lived to set a world record at the age of 80 in the weight and super weight throw categories at the American Masters Track and Field Championships in Boston.

Val was recognized internationally as a marine artist, leaving his village in 1945 to study at the National College of Art, Dublin. A winner of 75 amateur heavyweight boxing fights, he worked as a bobby in London where he became a representative for Guinness, while continuing studies at the Byam Shaw School of Art.

Exhibiting in Dublin, London, Moscow, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., he was the first Irish artist to receive national recognition in a 1974 show at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Val was popularly referred to as an Irish Winslow Homer, favoring representational seascapes, landscapes and coastal scenes of Ireland and Maine, where he became a longtime resident.

In 1969 he met his wife, Anna Houton, a teacher and importer of Irish goods, while she was on a buying trip to Ireland. As manager and promoter of Val’s art and galleries, Anna, along with Val were active in supporting Irish culture and the arts, supported many charitable organizations, and resided in Florida and Maine for many years.

Val was predeceased by his wife Anna, who passed away in February, and a baby, Terrence. Val was a beloved figure and inspiration to his extended family and is survived by three brothers-in-law: Thomas and Donna Houton, Daniel Houton, and John Houton and Dr. Ellen Kantor; and two sister-in-laws: Catherine and Dr. Joseph Benedict, Roseleen and the late George Pyne.

Val was also predeceased by two brothers, Joe and Frank, and a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Patricia and Charles Houton. Val and Anna admired, supported and loved their many nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, all of whom will remember them lovingly and fondly. Burial will be private.

See www.mackeyfuneralhome.com.

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