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McCann, Hugh J

McCann, Hugh J

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December 27, 1942 - February 22, 2016

The unexamined life is not worth living. (Socrates) 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 sister—Lawrence McCann and Regina McCann Katowsky—predeceased him.) Life wasn't easy for the McCann family, and Hugh learned early the value of an education and an appreciation for the arts—particularly music and singing—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.

Hugh was always drawn to philosophy and theology. He received 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 in 1965. 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. His most recent book was more theological: Creation and the Sovereignty of God came out in 2012. Hugh remained approachable to every young truth seeker with an honest question and remained friends over the years with many students. He 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 Greece—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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Hugh was immensely intelligent and talented, but above all, he was always kind and helpful. When I was still fairly new to College Station, and didn't have a car (this was in the early 1990's), he gave me rides to & from church and Chorale rehearsals. He lent his lovely tenor voice to both St. Thomas Aquinas Churhc and to the Brazos Valley Chorale as both a chorister and a cantor or soloist. When I asked him what I needed to do to earn tenure, he told me not to worry so much about the quantity of my publications, but their quality. He remains in my prayers and memories.

Requiescat in pace.

Felicia Piscitelli

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