By Ray O’Hanlon
The death has taken place of Eugene ‘Gene’ McCarthy, a prominent community figure who for many years cut a swathe across the cultural, social and business landscape of Irish New York.
McCarthy, long a leading figure in the Knights of St. Patrick and in the organization of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, died on Sunday, June 2.
He was 76.
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Mr. McCarthy’s funeral Mass will be on Thursday, June 6, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The date will have resonance for many who knew him as McCarthy served his country in the United States Marine Corps.
McCarthy was honored by the Irish Echo in the “Best of the Bronx Awards” in 2008 and for a time penned a financial advice column for the paper.
Stated an obituary in part: “Eugene G. McCarthy (Gene), dearly loved by his wife Sheila, his children, and grandchildren, was highly respected both personally and professionally by all who knew him. He was born in the South Bronx of Irish parents. He was a graduate of Cardinal Hayes High School and a Marine.
“Gene embarked on his very distinguished and successful insurance career with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and he went on to lead the nation for decades winning coveted awards as the leading producer of life and disability policies, while with Monarch Life.
“He was a leading expert in the industry, who lectured frequently at the University of Notre Dame and New York University. Gene, in later years, devoted his insurance acumen to the field of estate and financial planning.
“Gene is preceded in death by his parents Florence McCarthy of Anascaul and Catherine Begley of Ballydavid, County Kerry, his sister Kathleen McCarthy Tobin, and his former wife Annemarie.
“Gene is survived by his wife Sheila Clancy McCarthy, his daughter Deborah Sutton and her husband Jim, his son Jim McCarthy and his wife Laura, along with four grandchildren, Caitlin, Brendan, Anna Kathleen, and Seamus Eugene.
“Gene was a distinguished member of the Insurance Round Table of New York and Chairman of the Knights of St. Patrick, a former board member of the Physically Challenged Foundation, a director of the Irish Cultural Institute, and a member of the Irish Arts Center, along with the Irish/US Council, the Union League Club, and the New York Athletic Club. He was a philanthropist, who supported countless charities over his lifetime.
“A friend to many, he was humble and the original gentleman of Second Avenue. His valued contributions to the Irish community both here and in Ireland will continue to have a lasting effect. He was a proud Bronx boy, Marine, and Kerryman.”
The board of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, in a statement said: “The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade community mourns the loss of Gene McCarthy, Chairman of the Knights of St. Patrick.
“For the past 20 years, Gene McCarthy has been the guiding light of the Knights of St. Patrick and acted as a true leader of the organization in guiding them in all matters concerning fund raising and the Parade. Our sympathy goes out Gene McCarthy’s family. We have lost a great leader! He was a man of integrity, a true gentleman.”
I’ve known Gene for many years and I must say what a wonderful person he was. I will miss him greatly” said Sean Lane, chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
“Gene McCarthy was a true Irish American with his support of the church and all things Irish. He was proud of his Irish heritage and we are all blessed to have known him. I thank Gene for all he did over the years in support of the Parade, he will be sadly missed,” said Hilary Beirne, chairman, St. Patrick’s Day Foundation.
A visitation will be held Wednesday, June 5, 5 to 8 p.m. at Frank E. Campbell – The Funeral Chapel, 1076 Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be on Thursday, June 6, 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Interment will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, in Westchester County. Memories and expressions of sympathy at www.frankecampbellfuneralchapel.com. In lieu of flowers donations to the Frances Pope Foundation at www.francespopefoundation.org.