How did Bob McGrath and his wife Ann Logan Sperry first meet?

Bruno Cooke December 5, 2022
How did Bob McGrath and his wife Ann Logan Sperry first meet?
Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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Bob McGrath, who for decades entertained audiences as Bob Johnson of Sesame Street, has died at the age of 90, at his home in New Jersey, more than six decades after marrying his wife, Ann Logan Sperry.

His family shared the news via his Facebook page. 

“Hello Facebook friends,” they wrote. “The McGrath family has some sad news to share. Our father Bob McGrath, passed away today. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.”

Here’s what we know about how Bob and his wife Ann met and when they married, and how many children they had together.

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO

How did Bob McGrath and his wife Ann Logan Sperry first meet?

McGrath graduated from the University of Michigan in 1954, with a degree in music. Afterwards, he spent two years in Germany with the US Army. 

Between then and his completion of a master of music degree in voice, at Manhattan School of Music in 1959, he met and married Ann Logan Sperry, a preschool teacher.

They met on McGrath’s first day in New York City, which would likely have been in 1957 or 1958. He went there to study for his master’s degree, and soon found himself working with Mitch Miller on his NBC-TV singalong series Sing Along With Mitch.

Bob McGrath and Ann Logan Sperry married in the year 1958, meaning their 65th wedding anniversary would have taken place in 2023. She is about a year younger than him, per the New York Times.

Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

How many children did they have together, and where is their home?

Bob McGrath is survived by his wife, Ann Logan Sperry, and their five children.

Their children’s names are Liam McGrath, Robert McGrath, Alison McGrath Osder, Lily McGrath and Cathlin McGrath. They also have eight grandchildren.

Bob has an elder sister, whose name is Eileen Strobel, the Times adds, although it doesn’t provide any details about what she does or where she lives. 

For five years before he died, McGrath and his wife lived in what North Jersey calls a “handsome ranch house” in Norwood. They moved into it in 2017, before which they lived in Teaneck.

All told, Bob McGrath was a resident of Bergen County, New Jersey for 59 years. 

They did ‘Zoom chair yoga’ to keep healthy during lockdown

During the covid-19 lockdown(s) of 2020-2021, Bob McGrath and his wife Ann Logan Sperry did chair yoga via Zoom with Susan Cohen, who runs Yoga To Help Heal

“Chair yoga” refers to a practice within yoga that limits poses to those one can achieve from a seated position. It’s a type of accessible yoga, popular among seniors and those with reduced mobility, flexibility and/or strength.

Bob posted about it on his end-of-year roundup on Christmas Eve, 2021. He added that Ann had been taking piano lessons and practising almost daily. 

She had become, he also said, “the Puzzle Queen, with a new puzzle in the works at all times.”

Meanwhile, he kept himself busy “tending to the flowers in the garden” – not plowing fields like he used to, “or even pushing a mower anymore, but with a little help from my youngest son and his talented gardener, […] we now have a lovely new garden this year filled with daffodils, lady ferns, allium, and Siberian irises,” he wrote.

How did he die?

The Facebook post Bob McGrath’s children and wife wrote to inform his followers of his death did not mention a cause of death. 

It did say that he died “peacefully,” however. And that his family was with him at the time. 

Sesame Workshop, the charitable organization that produces Sesame Street, has since posted on its socials in tribute to the late actor and children’s author.  

“A founding cast member,” reads its tribute, “Bob embodied the melodies of Sesame Street like no one else, and his performances brought joy and wonder to generations of children around the world, whether teaching them the ABCs, the people in their neighborhood, or the simple joy of feeling music in their hearts.”

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.