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Former Denton school superintendent, Robert McGee, dies

Profile image for By Dawn Cobb
By Dawn Cobb

Robert “Bob” McGee, a longtime Denton school superintendent with more than 30 years in education, died Tuesday.

McGee, who served as superintendent from 1975-1990 and saw the start of the school district’s growth in the 1980s, was known for his attention to detail and for laying the groundwork for what is now in place.

Bettye Myers, a former school board trustee and board president, said she enjoyed working with him because he was flexible and listened to everyone’s needs.

“I loved working with him,” she said. “He led us during a great period of growth. We built schools and enrollment flourished.”

When it came to the students, McGee’s philosophy focused on giving positive reinforcement.

“His philosophy was growth and development instead of punishment,” Myers said. “He cared for the students and did what was best for them. Some of the programs he supported are still ongoing.”

Ray Braswell, who later served as superintendent of the Denton public schools, fondly recalled the few times they interacted while Braswell was teaching and training in the school district McGee oversaw.

“He was the superintendent that I knew coming up in the system when I was teaching and working as a trainer,” Braswell said. “I did have the occasion to run into him and he always remembered my name. He made me feel special. He had a unique knack for remembering staff and remembering unique things about staff.”

As the years passed, McGee retired in 1990 and, while Braswell was serving as the superintendent of schools before his recent retirement, the two would occasionally cross paths.

Braswell was cleaning out files in the superintendent’s office when he came across some papers authored by McGee and mailed them to him. McGee wrote back with sincere thanks, Braswell said.

One memorable meeting was when Braswell had stopped by the Emily Fowler Central Library for some long-forgotten reason. In the corner sat McGee.

“He looked at me and said, ‘I see you found a way to spend your time wisely.’”

McGee, 87, was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, on Jan. 25, 1927. He served during World War II and later attended the University of Cincinnati. He taught high school history at Los Alamos, N.M., where he met his wife, Mary Janet Sheehan. The couple married on March 31, 1955.

McGee earned his doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley and later worked in education administration for more than 30 years.

A memorial requiem mass will be celebrated at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Church of Saint David of Wales, 623 Ector St., with the Rev. Canon H.W. Herrman, SSC, officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made in his memory to the St. David’s Memorial Fund.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years; daughter, Tracy Jenks (Sky); son, Tim; and his granddaughters, Abby Claire McGee and Sarah Elise McGee.