McHale, engineer and musician, dies at 58
My son Brian died of brain cancer on April 11 at his home in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Last week my family and I traveled there to attend his funeral at St. Mary’s Church.
He was born Brian Kennedy McHale on Aug. 25, 1957, in Mill Valley, Calif., and moved to Skyline at the age of 10 months when his dad, John McHale, was transferred to FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The fifth of seven children, he grew up in a busy household, and started school at Irene Smith’s Morningside Co-op Kindergarten, at the old Town Hall. He went on to St. Philip’s School, where he was an altarboy. He played softball for the Morningside Recreation Council, coached by his dad, and basketball with the Camp Springs Boys’ Club. He was a Scout with Troop 282, at Bells U.M. Church.
Brian attended Bishop McNamara High School where he was captain of the track and cross-country teams.
His first job was helping clear the grounds of Mount Airy, the Upper Marlboro manor built by the Calvert family in 1725 and then due for renovation. He got his first paycheck — and poison ivy. The following summers he worked the snack bar at Andrews Officers’ Club swimming pool.
After graduation in 1975, he headed off to the University of Notre Dame, earned a degree in electrical engineering and went to work for Boeing. His first assignment was in Wichita. Later transfers took him to Philadelphia, Patuxent River NAS, Edwards AFB and finally Fort Walton Beach, as an avionics engineer for the V-22 Osprey. He retired in June 2015, with 35 years’ service.
Brian was always involved with music, beginning with school bands. Later, he per- formed with other bands, sang with or directed choirs at several churches, and did gigs at local pubs. He never went anywhere without a guitar. He also composed music, including “The Mass of St. Malachy,” which was sung beautifully by the choir at his funeral.
His father died in 2004. Survivors include his wife of 25 years, Carol; siblings, Kathleen, Mike, Therese, John, Elaine and Sheila; a host of nieces and nephews, and about a dozen guitars.
He also leaves me, his mom, without her favorite rival at Scrabble.
Donald Thompson, grandson of former Skyline residents Corbin and Bobbie Thompson, and son of Roy and Patty Thompson, will graduate from UMBC in information systems and history. He has a job waiting for him at NASA.
I have three grandchildren graduating this spring: Leah, from Towson University, and Claire, from Eleanor Roosevelt High School, daughters of Sheila and John Mudd of Laurel; and Rose, from Adelphi University, daughter of Elaine and Luke Seidman, of Crownsville.
Call or email (email@example.com) with information about the graduates in your family.
County officials gathered April 20 to celebrate the new Dave & Buster’s at the Ritchie Station Marketplace. It opened to the public on April 25.
The County Planning Board has approved $300,000 worth of grants for 13 properties in Prince George’s to be rehabilitated and restored. Among them: St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Leeland, Upper Marlboro; Epiphany Episcopal Church, Forestville; Chapel of the Incarnation, Brandywine; Wagner House, Accokeek; Brookfield of the Berrys, Upper Marlboro, and Cheltenham United Methodist Church.
According to a Washington Post story, “there are more than 550 million blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, an increase of more than a third over this time last year and one of the highest counts of the past two decades.” I’m already planning a crab feast.
May 14 — The Surratt Society offers “Chillin’ While Colored: 19th-Century African American Places of Leisure,” with Patsy Fletcher of the Historic Preservation Division for the District of Columbia. The presentation is free, and begins at 4 p.m. The Surratt House is at 9118 Brandywine Road in Clinton. For information, call 301-868-1121.
Happy birthday to Dorothy Lipka and Morningside Councilman Todd Mullins, April 30; Kathryn Deaver, Ann Lacey, Ernestine Taylor Wood, Dante Ross Jr. and Janet Booth Kaye, May 2; my daughter Sheila (McHale) Mudd and Lori Williams, May 3; India Goodall and Ruby Haines, May 4; Donald Young, Jim Henderson and Marlyn Meoli, May 5; Elsie Dent and Gretchen Ennis, May 6; Dwight Holloway Jr., May 7; Florine Clark, May 8; Brandi Jeter and Buddy Ramsey, May 9; Gladys Locks, Shirley Eppard and Elijah Thomas, May 10; Virginia Stine and Carolyn Flaherty Fogle, May 11; and Kyle Dameron, May 12.
Gov. Larry Hogan issued a proclamation declaring May 6 as Fallen Heroes Day in Maryland. Flags will be flown at half-staff at the State House and all state facilities. Fallen Heroes Day honors police, firefighters, and others who risk their lives protecting us.