John (Tony) McRae, age 89, Fargo, North Dakota, died on June 12, 2022 at Lilac Homes Memory Care, Moorhead.

John was born May 19, 1933 to Juliette (Marino) McRae in Long Island City, Queens, NY and raised in College Point, NY. After graduation from St. Cecilia’s, he entered the Christian Brothers of Ireland and attended St. Joseph’s Juniorate in upstate New York. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Iona College in New Rochelle, NY. He taught second grade at Iona Grammar School and the 4th and 5th grades in Harlem, NY. In 1956, he helped open Brother Rice High School in Chicago, IL, where he taught French, history, and coached tennis. He completed his master’s degree in French at Notre Dame where he met Michele Lynch. After leaving the Christian Brothers he moved to Cleveland where he taught high school French and coached tennis. Tony and Michele married in Bedford Heights, OH in 1963. They moved to New York where he did doctoral work at Columbia University. He then took a position at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, chairing the French and Russian department, developing the new film studies program and directing Principia. Traveling with students, colleagues, and Michele to Europe and Africa were important to Tony’s world view. He also taught film classes at Minnesota State University Moorhead and taught in the Tri-College Humanities Forum. He retired from Concordia in 1999. He published short stories, served on the Fargo Theatre Board, and was a film critic for WDAY radio. Tony served 12 years on the Barnesville School Board.

He is survived by his wife Michele; three daughters: Elizabeth (Thomas) Lampus, Sarah McRae, Megan (Kelly) Hastings, one son, Nathan McRae, and four grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his mother, Juliette, and his father, John, three aunts and one uncle.

Keeping with Tony’s wishes, his remains will be donated to the University of North Dakota School of Medicine in lieu of a funeral.

Tony’s family prefers memorials to Dorothy Day, Churches United, or the Fargo Theatre.


No services will be held as body has been donated to UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences:

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  1. Michele and family our deepest sympathy to you. Tony was an extraordinary man. So wise and so kind. He was a wealth of knowledge but never made me feel like I was any less and his smile was contagious. He will continue to be a inspirational teacher to the UND medical students. 🙏

  2. We are blessed to have had colleague, travel partner, and dear friend, Tony McRae, as part of our lives. I remember meeting Tony when I interviewed for a job at Concordia at the MLA conference and thinking afterwards “Wow he would be great to work with” and he was. He was so supportive of me as a young faculty member and I never knew how many films I didn’t know about until I met Tony. It was fun when I could tell him about one he hadn’t seen., though that didn’t happen often. Tom and I have great memories of wonderful trips with Tony and Michele: our Lewis and Clark adventure, our tour of the magnificent churches of the prairie (inspired by Jim Coomber and Sheldon Green’s book) and a delightful long weekend in New York where Tony helped us get to know the city he grew up in. Our lives were richer in so many ways because of Tony. We’ll miss you friend.

  3. So sad to hear of this, but he left all of us with so many great memories. Parting is always sad, but at the same time I am gratified that his was a life fully lived. We are all blessed to have been touched by his life.

  4. Michele, I am so sorry to hear of Tony’s passing. I miss spending our Friday afternoon movie days at Eventide the Fairmont. I cherish these times with both of you.
    In deepest sympathy and prayers,
    Carla and Mike Buschette

  5. Michelle and family, My condolences on the loss of Tony. He was a gentleman with whom I always enjoyed to visit.

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