Hugh Joseph McCann Obituary

  • Hugh Joseph McCann
    In Loving Memory of

    Hugh Joseph McCann

    Birth Date: Dec 27th, 1942 Death Date: Feb 22nd, 2016
    Hugh J. McCann

    The untold want, by life and land ne’er granted

    Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.

    --Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

    Hugh Joseph McCann passed away Monday, February 22, 2016, at age 73. A Doctor of Philosophy and deeply religious man, Hugh was beloved by his family, friends, colleagues and his students at Texas A&M University.

    Born December 27, 1942, in Philadelphia, (and raised there and in Newark, Delaware), Hugh was one of nine children born to Hugh and Mary McCann. His siblings were: Terry McCann, Kathy McCann Chudnofsky, Marie McCann Graney, Kevin McCann, Pat McCann and Daniel McCann. (Hugh’s brother and sisterâ€"Lawrence McCann and Regina McCann Katowskyâ€"predeceased him.) Life wasn’t easy for the McCann family, and Hugh learned early the value of an education and an appreciation for the artsâ€"particularly music and singingâ€"as a means of transcending the struggles of daily life.

    In 1959, Hugh met Janet Patricia Lacey at Newark High School when they were both 16; they bonded over their "mutual scorn for Civics class." While their personalities were quite different, over time, their shared intellectual curiosity, as well as their affection and respect for one another, grew into an abiding love. Hugh and Janet graduated from Newark High in 1960 and later married on September 18, 1965 (in Newark). Their union lasted 50 years. The McCanns have four children, who now survive their father: Hugh McCann of College Station, Paul McCann of Corpus Christi, TX, Peter McCann of Los Angeles, CA, and Stephanie McCann-Lloyd of Columbus, OH.

    Always fascinated with ideas, Hugh’s passion lay in exploring life’s larger questions. He pursued a Bachelor’s degree from Villanova University in 1964, then his Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Chicago in 1972. Later, he joined the Department of Philosophy & Humanities at Texas A&M and was eventually promoted to Department Head there. He was also appointed Senior Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame, and in addition to his TAMU classes, Hugh worked as an instructor and visiting professor at Northern Illinois University and the University of Virginia, respectively, as well as in Italy. Hugh’s wide-ranging professional interests were reflected in the titles of the graduate-level courses he taught, including: Philosophy of Mind, Action Theory and the Foundation of Ethics, Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Religion. His collected essays, written over a twenty-five year span, were compiled in The Works of Agency: On Human Action, Will and Freedom (1998) and provide a comprehensive perspective on contemporary action theory. He also co-authored a book, Creative and Critical Thinking, with his wife, Dr. Janet McCann. In spite of his success, Hugh remained approachable to every young truth seeker with an honest question and was beloved by his many students. He later retired as Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Texas A&M (1968-2014).

    Aside from his considerable career achievements at TAMU and elsewhere, Hugh spent his spare time relishing his role as a family man and singing with the Brazos Valley Chorale, savoring classical choral works. In addition, he was a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in College Station. Hugh also loved dogs and traveling, spending time in England and Scotland as well as France, Belgium, Germany and Greeceâ€"discovering deeper philosophical truths while researching the history of the Second World War. Just as Hugh remembered and reverenced the work and sacrifices of those who came before him, so do his friends and loved ones now remember his accomplishments and gentle good humor. He will be greatly missed.

    The Life Celebration of Hugh McCann will begin with Visitation at 11am on Saturday, February 27, 2016, at Hillier Funeral Home (College Station Chapel). Liturgy of the Word service will begin at 2pm. Interment will follow at Bryan City Cemetery.

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