James Wilson McTaggart

James Wilson McTaggart

July 12, 1945 - February 27, 2024

James Wilson McTaggart

July 12, 1945 - February 27, 2024


James “Jim” Wilson McTaggart, 78, of Bridgewater, Pennsylvania, died Tuesday, February 27, 2024, at Providence Health Care Center.

Born July 12, 1945, in Rochester, Pennsylvania, he was the son of the late James C. and Elizabeth (Wilson) McTaggart.

Jim served in the US Navy from October 11, 1965, through October 11, 1969. His intent was to be a Medic in the Navy, but due to a color blindness condition, he was unable to. He instead became a firefighter. Initially stationed at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, he joined the first “Class A” Intensive Fire School the Navy conducted. His love for firefighting was a skill he didn’t even know he had. He ended up assisting the instructors in the Intensive Fire School for six months. Out of the 28 Navy firefighting trainees, only four went overseas. He was one of them.

Jim served on the Polaris Nuclear Submarines known as “Boomers.” His tours of duty took place during the Cold War with Russia and included deployment under the Strait of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War in 1967. He spent two years in Squadron 16 based in Rota, Spain.

Having 18 months to go in his commitment, he transferred from Sub Squadron to an Aircraft Carrier in the Atlantic Fleet. He was stationed in Pensacola, Florida, aboard the busiest pilot training carrier. Pilot training for all branches of the military was conducted aboard this carrier. Training occurred around the clock, exceeding 250,000 training flights. He was one of 35-40 firemen on the carrier.

He earned five promotions. At the conclusion of his Navy commitment in 1969, he was an E5 Enlisted NCO.

Once he returned home to Beaver, Pennsylvania, he was hired by Washington Ambulance in Washington County. He worked there roughly one year before returning home to Beaver. Around 1971, he returned to Pensacola, Florida and was hired by the Pensacola Fire Department as a career firefighter. Living just outside the city, he also belonged to the Warrington VFD, which had an area larger than the city, and he stayed quite busy with his volunteer firefighter friends he knew from the Navy days. He was named the Warrington Volunteer Fire Department’s “Jack Hertz” Fireman of the Year in 1971.

During his early firefighting career, he developed melanoma and malignant cancers. Scared and only 26 years of age, he wanted to be near his family. His return home was meant to be.

Jim was a pioneer for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Beaver County. In the early to mid 1970s, he was singularly responsible for moving EMS from funeral home hearses to state-of-the art ambulances staffed by EMTs. He used his own money to build the organization – no grants or subsidies. He also established Beaver County’s first EMS dispatch office. According to a friend who served with him, he instilled “firefighter pride” into the crew, and the ambulances were spotless inside and out.

He joined the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department in 1974 and served in Beaver until 1991, including time as Captain.

He then joined the Bridgewater VFD on June 19, 1995. He served faithfully as a firefighter, trainer, mentor, 2nd Assistant Chief, and 1st  Assistant Chief, and retired as Deputy Chief. During the early 2000’s, he was instrumental in reaching out to various contractors and vendors to assist in the construction of their award-winning firehouse. Jim transitioned to Life Member of the Bridgewater VFD on May 8, 2017. He continued to support the Fire Department any way he could. They were in fact his family.

As a staple of the Bridgewater community, he always made every attempt to “look after” the town. People near and far knew of his attention to detail.

Jim also worked as a funeral director’s assistant and founded Mayfair Livery. As owner of Mayfair, he provided limousine and hearse service with his characteristic professionalism and good cheer.

He is survived by his sister, Elizabeth McTaggart Vesilind, and by his three nephews, Andrew David Endy, Christopher Stewart Endy, and Stephen Patrick Endy. As “Uncle Jimmy,” he specialized in hauling his nephews through the streets of Beaver in the back of his red pickup.

Friends will be received on Sunday, March 3rd from 1:00 pm till the time of service at 5:00 pm in the GABAUER-TODD FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES located at 340 3rd Street, Beaver, PA 15009. Members of the Vietnam Veteran’s of America Chapter 862 will conduct full military honors prior to the funeral service at the funeral home.Private interment will take place in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

To honor Jim’s memory, memorial contributions may be made, if desired, to the Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Department, 619 Market Street, Bridgewater, PA 15009 or to the Beaver Area Memorial Library, 100 College Avenue, Beaver, PA 15009.

A private luncheon for the family and close friends will be held immediately following the funeral service at Vanport VFD Social Hall.


  • Date & Time: March 03, 2024 (1:00 PM - 5:00 PM)
  • Venue: Gabauer-Todd Funeral And Cremation Services
  • Location: 340 3rd St, Beaver, PA 15009 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (724) 775-0674

Funeral Service

  • Date & Time: March 03, 2024 (5:00 PM)
  • Venue: Gabauer-Todd Funeral And Cremation Services
  • Location: 340 3rd St, Beaver, PA 15009 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (724) 775-0674

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1 responses to James Wilson McTaggart

  1. Jim Sandman says:

    Dear family and friends of Jim,
    On behalf of the United States Submarine Veterans, we offer our sincere condolences at Jim´s passing. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. We are always saddened whenever a fellow “Bubblehead” departs on Eternal Patrol. He served with honor in the U.S. Submarine Force.
    To our “Brother-of-the-Phin” we say, “Sailor, rest your oar. We have the watch. Fair Winds and Following Seas.” Thank you for your service to our country.
    To the family… “may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ESV).
    Jim Sandman, FTC(SS) Ret,
    National Chaplain, USSVI.

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