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Henry Wadsworth McGee, Jr.

Henry Wadsworth McGee, Jr., a distinguished law professor, civil rights activist, and housing advocate, died on March 17, 2024 at his home in Seattle, WA. Often called Hank by his friends, he was born in Chicago, IL, on December 31, 1932, to Henry W. McGee, Sr., the city's first Black Postmaster, and Attye Belle Truesdale McGee, a schoolteacher. McGee was predeceased by his two sisters, Sylvia Morrison and Marguerite Porterfield. He is survived by his wife, Victoria Kill, five sons, Henry W. McGee, III, Peer Byron McGee, Kevin T. McGee, Gregory R. McGee, and Erik C. McGee, four grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. McGee earned a B.A. from Northwestern University in 1954 and in 1957 a J.D. from DePaul University.

Following graduation, he worked as a government prosecutor, private firm litigator, and regional director of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity Legal Services Program. In Freedom Summer 1964 he traveled to Mississippi as a volunteer lawyer for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. After earning a Master of Laws degree from Columbia University in 1969, McGee embarked on a storied decades- long academic career and held tenured positions at the University of California, Los Angeles and Seattle University. A two-time winner of Fulbright Fellowships, he lectured extensively abroad and in 1973 was a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University. He served as a Fellow of the Mexican Academy of Private International and Comparative Law. His prolific scholarship, in English and Spanish, includes a co-authored housing law case book and more than 25 articles in juried reviews. One of McGee's greatest passions was music. He was an accomplished violinist who played in the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra and other community music groups. 

McGee retired in 2015 at the age of 82 and was honored by the Metropolitan King County Council for "a career and life dedicated to racial and economic justice." After leaving academia, McGee continued to devote himself to community service and was a board member of the Seattle Low Income Housing Institute and a member of the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity.

Memorial for Henry McGee Jr
Seattle First Baptist Church
Saturday, May 4, 3:30pm


Condolences to all of my cousins. Corky (Hank) was an amazing scholar and advocate for the arts. He will truly be missed. I would like to reach out to all of my cousins and ask that you keep my email address and contact me when ever you pass through Virginia., I am the Grandson of Rev. Ford Washington McGee.

Bill McGee

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