Obituary for John McCarthy Sr.
John Jeremiah McCarthy, 98, passed away in the loving care of Community Hospice at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Jacksonville on July 7, 2017, after a long and happy life.
He was born December 30, 1918 in Seattle, Washington, the son of immigrants Patrick and Bertha McCarthy, both of whom participated in the Alaska Gold Rush. As a young man, he enlisted in the Coast Guard, and he made two Bering Sea patrols to Alaska - on the Coast Guard Cutter Northland in 1938, and the Aurora in 1940. He loved telling stories from that time, like swimming in the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean. During World War II, he was assigned to convoy duty in the Atlantic, escorting ships from New York to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at war’s end he served in transporting US and British prisoners of war home from the Philippines.
When stationed in Jacksonville soon after the war began, while his ship was outfitted for convoy duty, John met the love of his life, Laurel Crawford. They married on June 11, 1944 at Saint Michaels Church in New York City.
After the war, John settled in Jacksonville with Laurel, and Johnny (as they knew him) was quickly accepted and adopted into the extended Crawford family. He joined Southern Bell (now AT&T) in an apprentice position, eventually rising to hold a variety of management positions. In 1963 he was transferred to Daytona Beach, and he raised his family there before transferring back to Jacksonville in 1969. In his long career as a telephone man he made many great friends. He retired from Southern Bell in 1980.
John loved carpentry, and while still a young man he built two homes for his growing family. He greatly enjoyed his family, and took Laurel and his three boys camping, boating and traveling, including several long road trips to visit his family in Seattle. Along the way they visited the great national parks, and he instilled in his boys his sense of adventure. In retirement, John’s love of travel took him and Laurel all across the U.S. again, traveling in their motor home as far as Alaska.
John is lovingly remembered for his great sense of adventure, his easy smile, and his gentle and giving nature. He was a good friend and neighbor to many, and he loved telling a good story.
John is survived by his three sons, Michael, Patrick and Jack (John Jr.), daughters-in-law Janis, Jan and Kayla, grandchildren Chris, Kristen Shannon, Shawn, Andy and Danny, great-grandchildren Carter, Hannah, Allie, Ella and Bodhi, and other members of the extended McCarthy and Crawford families. As he leaves us to embark on his next adventure, he is reunited with his parents, his sister Dorothy, his brother Felix, his loving wife of 72 years, Laurel, and other members of the Crawford family who have passed on.
A visitation will be held and eulogies given on Friday, July 14th at Arlington Park Funeral home, Jacksonville, from 6:00 – 8:00pm. A funeral mass is scheduled for 10:00 AM on Saturday July 15, at Christ the King Catholic Church (720 Arlington Rd. N, Jacksonville, 32211), where he was a long-time parishioner, followed by a reception in the church hall. Burial will follow at Restlawn Cemetery (2600 Ribault Scenic Dr., Jacksonville, 32208). In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Community Hospice in Jacksonville (www.communityhospice.com/give) or the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org).