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William E. McGuirk, Jr.

William E. McGuirk Jr.


McGuirk, a board chair for The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Health System, was born in Brooklyn, New York. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy with the class of 1939. After graduating, he took classes at Harvard Business School before serving in the United States Navy during World War II. During the war, he served as captain of the destroyer-minesweeper USS Palmer, which was sunk in 1945 by Japanese aircraft. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander and was honored with a Silver Star for his service.

At the close of the war, McGuirk returned to New York and began his business career at Kuhl, Loeb, & Co. He came to Baltimore in 1954 to assume the role of vice president of the Davison Chemical Co., a division of W. R. Grace & Co. McGuirk served as president of the Davison Chemical Co. from 1956 until 1965, when he accepted a position at Mercantile Safe Deposit & Trust Co. He was chairman of this company from 1968 until 1976, and chairman of its parent company, the Mercantile Bankshares Corp., from 1970 until his retirement in 1984.

McGuirk was described by his fellow executives as “extremely precise” and having “very high principles.” He was a financial advisor to The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and served on the board of trustees beginning in 1956. He was chairman of the board of the hospital and of the Johns Hopkins Health System from 1972 until 1977.

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