Chief Joseph Edward McDonough

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    - Lorne Ellis
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    - George Greenleaf
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Service Information
Conroy Tully Walker Funeral Homes and Cremation Services
172 State Street
Portland, ME

STANDISH – Chief Joseph Edward McDonough, PFD Retired, passed away on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, at his home surrounded by his family. He was 80 years old.

The story of Joseph "Chief" McDonough began in Portland on March 3, 1938. Joseph was the son of the late John and Mary (Troiano) McDonough. As he would often say, he "graduated" from Cathedral Grammar School. He was a graduate of Cheverus High School, class of 1956.

In the 1950s Cheverus would have coed dances on Friday nights. It was typical for the guys to stand on one end of the gymnasium, and the girls from St. Joseph's Academy on the other. On one particular Friday night, Joe was leaning against the wall with his friends and looked across the room at a young girl who caught his eye. He leaned in to his friend and stated that he knew she was "the one." A few weeks later, Joe saw Ann Hollywood again at a party where she asked him to dance. Joe remembered that particular night for the rest of his life. This weekend, 60 years later, Joe asked Ann if she wanted to dance on the day before he passed away.

Following high school, Joe attended the Maine Central Institute where he played football. During his season, the MCI team went undefeated, never scored upon. The scouts at Boston College were so impressed that they offered Joe a scholarship. In addition to playing with the BC Eagles, Joe honorably served his country in the United States Marine Corps Reserves.

Joe and Ann were married in 1958. It wasn't long before they started their loving family, raising their four children to know that they were loved unconditionally. Joe began his career with the Portland Fire Department in 1960. For over 28 years, he served the City of Portland at various engines, and was appointed Chief of the Portland Fire Department in 1977. A new nickname was born. "Chief" faithfully served as a leader of the PFD. Another Portland firefighter said it best: "Family first, community involvement, duty to the job, loyalty, dependability, dedication, compassion; these were not just catch phases, they were a part of his DNA." After 12 years in office, Chief Engineer Joseph E. McDonough retired in 1988.

Above all else, he loved his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchild. He and Ann moved to Long Island, Maine, to build a house that every member of his family will forever call home. Chief and Ann later moved to Sebago Lake, where he lived out the rest of his life.

Family was everything to Chief. There was never a problem brought to the Chief to which he didn't reply "we'll work it out." He was a seriously fun grandfather, who would drop all pretense of dignity to make those kids laugh.

Chief was larger than life. So, too, is his memory.

In addition to his parents, Chief was welcomed into heaven by his daughter, Monica McDonough, who preceded him by only three months.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Ann McDonough, and their children, Maria Kilbride, Melissa Allen and her husband, Jim, John McDonough and his wife, Ruth. He is also survived by his sister, Martha Colucci and husband, Richard; brothers, Paul McDonough and Michael McDonough and wife, Mary. Chief is adored by his 14 grandchildren, Meaghan Morris Phillips, Amanda Allen Nurse, Erin Kilbride, Ashley Allen, Maggie Kilbride, Amy Allen, Seamus Kilbride, Joey McDonough, Keegan Kilbride, MacEllen McDonough, Gabriella Martin, Murphy McDonough, Chloe Kilbride, Maddie McDonough; and one great-grandchild, Riley James Nurse.

Visiting hours to celebrate Chief's life will be held on Thursday, Dec. 20 from 4-6 p.m., at the Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State St., Portland. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, Dec. 21 at 10 a.m., at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Private burial will follow. To view Chief's memorial page or to share an online condolence, please visit

Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Dec. 18, 2018
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