Obituary: James Maguire / Retired Bayer USA treasurer

Dec. 6, 1920 - Nov. 27, 2013

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James "Jim" Maguire woke up the day after his 21st birthday to learn his country was under attack.

He didn't take long to enlist.

Mr. Maguire joined the Navy after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, served in the South Pacific and remained in the service through the Korean War.

"You couldn't find a more old-school guy than this guy," said his son, Tim. "He was upright, he was responsible. Nobody could be more loyal to his wife and family than my father was. He was a Greatest Generation guy. You just don't see people like that anymore."

Mr. Maguire, who retired from the Navy a lieutenant commander and later worked as treasurer for Bayer USA, died Wednesday at an assisted living center in Washington, Pa. He was 92.

Born in New Jersey, Mr. Maguire moved to Pennsylvania in 1945 after marrying his wife, Elizabeth "Betty," whom he met in the Navy. She taught signals, and as a liaison to the British Navy, Mr. Maguire had to take a course on signals.

After the war, they settled in Easton, Pa., her hometown, and he started to work for the Alpha Portland Cement Co. as a purchasing agent. But as the cement industry started to struggle, he looked for opportunity elsewhere.

That brought him to Western Pennsylvania in 1967 for a job with Mobay Chemical Co., a joint venture between Bayer USA and Monsanto.

"It was a pretty amazing good group of people who built something that really became a centerpiece for Bayer," said Tim Maguire, who lives in Nahant, Mass.

Eventually, Bayer bought out Monsanto's portion of Mobay, and Mr. Maguire, who graduated from Princeton University in 1941, later became treasurer of the corporation's United States' operations, based in Robinson.

He retired from Bayer in 1984 but stayed active with a variety of organizations. He helped lead a Small Business Administration retraining program at Washington and Jefferson College for displaced steel workers and volunteered for a variety of organizations, including United Cerebral Palsy of Southwestern Pennsylvania and Washington Hospital.

"He was involved at a one time another with a lot of boards," said his daughter, Martha Simanovsky of Boston.

"It's just kind of the way both parents were very involved with the community. They didn't talk much about it; they just did it."

In addition to his son and daughter, Mr. Maguire is survived by a daughter, Susan of Newton, Mass.; a son, Jamie of Brookline, Mass.; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Piatt and Barnhill Funeral Home, 420 Locust Ave., Washington, Pa. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church, 100 E. Wheeling St., Washington, Pa.

Burial will be private and held at the convenience of the family in the Washington Cemetery.

The family suggests donations to United Cerebral Palsy of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Washington Federal Square, 190 N. Main St., Suite 306, Washington, PA 15301.


Michael Sanserino: msanserino@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1969 or on Twitter @msanserino. Pohla Smith: psmith@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1228.


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