BOSTON (AP) — Thomas McGee, a tough-talking, cigar-chewing ex-Marine who played a key role in Massachusetts politics as House speaker for nearly a decade before a former lieutenant ousted him in a leadership struggle, has died. He was 88.

His family said Saturday that McGee, of Lynn, died Friday after ailing for some time.

McGee served in the U.S. Marines during World War II and graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1953.

He was elected to the Houser in 1962 and became speaker in 1975. He served for a then-record five terms until lawmakers voted for the first time in modern history to oust a sitting speaker, replacing him with the former majority leader he fired a year earlier in a power dispute.

Funeral and burial will be private. A public memorial service will be announced in January.


Rodrique Ngowi can be reached at

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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