Michael Patrick “Dusty” McGee of Wellington, a devoted husband and father of two, passed away at age 60 on Thursday, Nov. 22 after a long battle with cancer and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. He died peacefully, surrounded by family.
McGee was born on Dec. 18, 1957 in Bryn Mawr, Pa., to Bernard James “BJ” and Marguerite (Quinn) McGee. He received his engineering degree from the University of Florida in 1981 and his master’s degree in space studies from the University of North Dakota in 2002. He was an electrical engineer for 35 years in Pennsylvania, Kansas, Florida, the Philippines and South Korea. For the last 30 years, McGee called Wellington home.
On Dec. 19, 1981, McGee married Valorie Dorothy Hendricks. Together, they raised one daughter, Shannon Ashley, and one son, Sean Michael. They have also raised three delightful golden retrievers, Sundance, Chewy and Luna.
McGee was a loyal Gator and member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. He had a passion for pursuing the hobbies in life that made him happy. While they ranged from duck hunting to beekeeping over the years, he fervently pursued each one. Other interests included scuba diving, camping, kayaking, growing pineapples, rose gardening, woodworking and robotics. Robotics took on a more meaningful role in his life when he became a mentor for the high school robotics competition, FIRST Robotics League, and for younger youth, the FIRST Lego League.
McGee was captivated by outer space; a passion he enthusiastically shared with his wife and children through hobby rocketry, space camp, astronomy nights and frequent trips to Cape Canaveral to watch rocket launches and explore the Kennedy Space Center. On a clear night, he could always be found outside, looking toward the stars, eager to share with anyone nearby the constellations, satellites or planets within view.
McGee was a Boy Scout in his youth and a leader as a parent. He spent 12 years volunteering with Troop 125 and Venture Crew 2125 of Wellington as a den leader, cubmaster, merit badge counselor, troop leader, venture crew advisor and unit commissioner with the Gulf Stream Council.
All who knew him can appreciate that McGee would not want people to wallow in grief or remember him with sadness. He took pride in being a goofy and loving person and will be remembered for his infectious joie de vivre. Think of him, joyfully, anytime you hear Jimmy Buffett music or when you celebrate his favorite holiday, Talk like a Pirate Day, with gusto every Sept. 19.
McGee was preceded in death by his father, B.J., and two of his faithful golden retrievers, Sundance and Chewy. He is survived by his loving wife, Valorie; his affectionate golden retriever, Luna; his adult children, Shannon and Sean; his mother, Marguerite; his two sisters, Kathleen and Patricia; his two brothers, Timothy and James; and several aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces.
A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Palms West Funeral Home. For additional information, visit www.palmswestfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Mike-Dusty-Mcgee.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made “In Memory of Michael McGee” to the Alzheimer’s Community Care Center in Wellington at www.alzcare.org/donate.