Shrewsbury remembers retired Chief of Police Robert K. McGinley
By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
McGinley was born and raised in Shrewsbury, son of the late Harold K. and Elizabeth H. (Mullins) McGinley. He graduated from Major Beal High School and later received an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Quinsigamond Community College. He served with the U.S. Coast Guard and was honorably discharged in January 1961.
McGinley was first employed for the town of Shrewsbury as a part-time firefighter from 1954 to 1962, when he became a fulltime patrolman in the Police Department. He was promoted to sergeant in 1974 and in 1980 became chief. He retired in 1998, after serving 18 years as chief of police.
He was a member of the International Chiefs of Police Association; the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, where he served on the Executive Board; the New England Chiefs of Police Association; the Central Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, as president; the Shrewsbury Municipal Employees Credit Union, as secretary; the Knights of Columbus, Alhambra Council # 88, in Worcester; and St. Mary Parish in Shrewsbury.
Former Shrewsbury Police Chief A. Wayne Sampson, the current executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, took over the department after McGinley retired in 1998.
“I worked with him for 20 years – he was always very actively engaged,” Sampson said. “He was very dedicated to the entire town of Shrewsbury and very committed to the Police Department.”
“He also had a great sense of humor and was a larger than life personality,” he added. “He will definitely be missed.”
Other officials echoed those thoughts.
McGinley “served his community proudly,” current Police Chief James Hester Jr. said. “Certainly Chief McGinley’s many years of service with this department will not be forgotten.”
“Chief McGinley was a great man at the head of a great family who loved, lived in and served Shrewsbury his entire life,” state Rep. Matthew Beaton, R- Shrewsbury, said. “The Chief will be missed by many and Shrewsbury will benefit from his legacy, dedication and service for years to come.”
“As chief, he helped bridge a very significant change in how municipal police departments operate. He started his career with officers who began their service in the 1940s and ‘50s,” Selectman John Lebeaux said. “He effectively led the police department through the dramatic transition that created the 21st century policing model we have today.”
McGinley leaves his wife of 10 years, Marion E. (Sweeney) McGinley. His first wife and mother of his children, Nancy J. (MacLeod) McGinley, died in 1999. He is survived by his children, Robert P. McGinley and his wife, Mary, and William H. McGinley, both of Shrewsbury, Christopher J. McGinley of Sutton, Cheryl A. Westerlind and her husband, Gene, of Millbury, and Pamela J. Lacasse and her husband, Jeffrey, of Worcester; step-son Vincent P. Scanlon and his wife, MaryEllen, of Holden; step-daughter Tara A. Lyons and her husband, David, of Shrewsbury; 13 grandchildren; a cousin, Mary O’Connor, of Hingham; a niece; and many friends. He was predeceased by a daughter, Suzanne E. (McGinley) Ankrah, daughter-in- law Susan (Carter) McGinley, and a sister, Ann Stefan.
His funeral will be held at the Britton-Shrewsbury Funeral Home Tuesday, June 4 with his funeral Mass being celebrated at 10 a.m. in Saint Mary’s Church, 640 Main St., Shrewsbury. Burial will be with military honors in Mountain View Cemetery. Donations may be made to the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, 26 Providence Road, Grafton, MA 01519 or to the Jimmy Fund, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445-7295.
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