John McCarthy

Obituary of John McCarthy

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Life-long Princeton resident and lawyer, Jack McCarthy, Jr. died on June 22, 2012 at his home after a long illness. He was 90. John F. McCarthy, Jr. was born on October 17, 1921 on Charlton Street in Princeton, the second child of John F. McCarthy and Rose (Devine) McCarthy. His father worked as a trolley car conductor and butcher while attending the old New Jersey Law School in Newark at night. Mr. McCarthy Sr. practiced law in Princeton from 1927 until 1954 when he died of a heart attack at the Mercer County Court House. Rose McCarthy died in 1973. Jack's sister Mary McHugh, who taught for many years at St Paul's School, died in 2006. Mr. McCarthy was educated at St Paul's School, Princeton High School (1937), the Hun School (1939) and Princeton University (1943). He graduated from Princeton High School at 15, having skipped two grades in grammar school. At the Hun School he played baseball and basketball. At Princeton University he captained the undefeated 1942 baseball team, played varsity basketball, served as an officer of Tower Club and graduated with honors. An all-ECAC (precursor to the Ivy League) first baseman, he hit a home run over the right field fence at Cornell -- a feat matched previously only by Lou Gehrig. His college classmates voted him "best sense of humor" and "best natured." In 1943 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 87th Field Artillery. Landing with the First Army on the Normandy beaches on "D-day plus 3" (June 9, 1944), he served as an artillery forward observer, was wounded twice, received the Purple Heart and was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery in the rescue of six stranded enlisted men. He was with his unit when it liberated one of the Nazi concentration camp. Upon returning from the war, he married his high school sweetheart, Katherine Holohan of Plainsboro, in December 1945. He earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and joined his father's office on Charlton Street in Princeton in 1948. He served as Princeton Borough Attorney from 1958 to 1961. From 1970 to 1973 he was chairman of the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation, an agency established to expose organized crime and public corruption. His law partners included former Governor William T. Cahill, former State Commissioner of Transportation John Sheridan, and Mercer County Superior Court judges Coleman T. Brennan, Theodore Tams and F. Patrick McManimon. Mr. McCarthy practiced law in Princeton for sixty-four years. A founding member of the Bedens Brook Club, Mr. McCarthy was also a member of the Nassau Club and Springdale Golf Club. He attended daily Mass at St Paul's Church, fulfilling a solemn promise he made on the battlefields of France. When former Governor Brendan Byrne spoke at the 250th anniversary of Princeton University, he joked: "Princeton is known as the home of three famous people: Albert Einstein, Woodrow Wilson and Jack McCarthy." Mr. McCarthy is survived by his wife of sixty-six years, two sons, Jack and Kevin of Princeton, and five grandchildren. Visiting hours will be on Thursday, June 28 from 2 pm to 4 pm and from 7 pm to 9 pm at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, 40 Vandeventer Avenue, Princeton, NJ. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the Princeton University Chapel on Friday, June 29 at 10 am with a reception to follow at Prospect House, Princeton University. The burial at St. Paul's Church, Princeton, will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be directed to the John F. McCarthy, Jr. Class of 1943 Memorial Fund at Princeton University, P.O. Box 5357, Princeton, NJ 08543-5357 or to the Catholic charitable association, Mount Carmel Guild, 73 North Clinton Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08609.
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