James DeTurck McGuigan, 87, formerly of Coatesville, an engineer and inventor, died Sunday of heart failure at Tel Hai Retirement Community in Honey Brook.
During his career of more than 40 years, Mr. McGuigan designed mushroom-harvesting systems; 200-ton mechanical cranes; machines to crush cars and mass-produce chef hats; devices to maintain upstream salmon migrations and to rehabilitate hand injuries; solar panels; and an elevator system for the St. Louis Gateway Arch. At 80, he earned two patents for leak-detection devices, his son James said, and was a finalist in the Hammacher Schlemmer Search for Ideas contest.
Mr. McGuigan grew up in West Philadelphia and summered at his family's farm in Coatesville. He played track, ice hockey and football at Friends Central School in Wynnewood and played ice hockey for Drexel University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering.
During World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps in the States and was a counterintelligence officer in occupied Japan.
After his discharge, he earned a master's degree in engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He worked for several engineering companies before establishing McGuigan Engineering in 1960 in Hartford, Conn. He relocated the firm to Coatesville after he and his wife, Irene Gentile McGuigan, moved to his family's farm.
Mr. McGuigan was active with the Knights of Columbus and was a volunteer at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Coatesville.
In addition to his wife of 62 years and son, he is survived by daughters Patricia Rodgers and Kathy Underwood; son Michael; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.