US Navy veteran who enjoyed reading, food, dancing with wife and playing cards

MELROSE — Joseph “Joe” P. McKean, a veteran of the Korean War and longtime resident of Melrose, passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 16. He was 89. Born in Boston on June 11, 1934, Joseph was the beloved husband of the late Patricia J. (Sanborn) McKean of Melrose. Devoted father of Susan G. McKean Brennan and her husband Richard of Melrose; Bruce S. McKean and his wife Maureen of N. Andover; the late Arthur J. McKean; and the late Ronald P. McKean. Proud grandfather of Eric Venturelli, Michael McKean, Matthew McKean, Amanda McKean, Allison McKean, Joseph McKean, Ryan McKean and Ashley McKean. 

Joe graduated from Boston English High School, class of 1952, before enlisting in the United States Navy. He served as an Assault Boat Coxswain during the Korean War from 1952- 956. After the war, he worked for over 35 years as a Civil Engineering Draftsman for Green International Engineering.  He enjoyed and was extremely dedicated to his work and always had to be the first one in the office at 6:30 a.m. to make the morning pot of coffee. 

Joe was deeply devoted to his family and provided for them. He was an avid reader, loved food, playing cards, dancing with his wife and enjoyed being together with family and friends. He looked forward to vacations with his family to Maine and New Hampshire and numerous trips with friends to Aruba, Bermuda and cruises to the Caribbean. 

Joe was extremely active in Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Harold O. Young Post #2394 where he served as Post Commander (3 times), Chaplin, Treasurer and manager of the hall rental. Through the VFW he supported and coordinated many community events (Voice of Democracy, Golf Tournaments, etc.). In addition to the VFW, Joe was an active member of the Melrose Highlands Congregational Church where he served as a deacon for many years, a member of the building committee and a member of various church groups. Through the VFW and church, Joe made numerous lifelong friends. 

In lieu of flowers, Joe would be honored if donations were made to the Wounded Warrior Family Support at whose mission is to provide support to the families of those who have been wounded, injured or killed during combat operations.

Visiting hours were held at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 W. Foster St., Melrose on Thursday, September 21 from 4 to 6 p.m. A funeral service was held at the Gately Funeral Home on Friday, September 22 at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Interment in Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose. For online tribute, please visit