Dennis McGrath, one of the local deans of the communications business, has retired after more than 50 years at several posts, and running his own business.

McGrath, also an Irish wit, witnessed a lot of Twin Cities business history. And he can tell more than a few slightly embellished stories that had me chuckling over coffee recently.

McGrath, who turns 80 this month, was a founder about 35 years ago, of Mona, Meyer & McGrath & Gavin. It eventually was acquired by Shandwick, the London-based global communications firm.

McGrath, who has battled recent health issues, stepped down several weeks ago, from his consulting post at Himle Rapp.

McGrath worked with the late Wheelock Whitney when Whitney ran the former Dain Bosworth in the 1960s. He counseled Norwest Corp., as well as the late Bud Grossman, CEO of the former Gelco Corp., where McGrath headed investor relations and corporate communications.

During his career, he also counseled the likes of Elmer Anderson, the late governor and long-time leader of H.B. Fuller; CEOs George Dixon and Pete Ankeny at what is now U.S. Bancorp.; Bill McGuire at UnitedHealth Group; and retired Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. McGrath had great respect for the late Walter Rasmussen, the builder of Northeast State Bank of Minneapolis and Guaranty State Bank of Robbinsdale, and a commercial-community lion.

McGrath offered that during his career he never counseled a company that lost a hostile takeover or a proxy fight. Suffice to say McGrath also didn’t win every internal argument or love every client.

“It was a hell of a run," said McGrath, also a freelance magazine writer over the years. "I worked with some exceptional people over those decades.”

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