Eugene McCarthy, a former trustee of Williston Park and a longtime coach, died on Sept. 15. He was 69.
McCarthy died after a five-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease, his family said.
Family, friends and colleagues recalled McCarthy as a “gentle soul” who was loyal, dedicated and always willing to help people in need. Whether it was as a trustee, family man or coach, McCarthy always did the right thing, they said.
“He was a great guy,” said Mayor Paul Ehrbar, whose family has been friends with the McCarthy family for over 20 years. “He’d give you the shirt off his back if you wanted.”
McCarthy served on the Williston Park Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2006, as well as the village’s beautification committee for about 20 years. He was also a longtime coach for St. Aidan’s church and Williston Park’s Little League baseball team.
He was also the president of the Nassau-Knolls Cemetery in Port Washington, where he worked for 50 years, and did landscaping on the side.
Rose McCarthy, Eugene’s wife of 48 years, said they were high school sweethearts. They decided to move to Williston Park in November 1973 and built a life together there.
“I guess it was love at first sight, and that love just continued to grow,” Rose McCarthy said.
Rose said they always loved the area for the churches, school, location and the people, many of whom would become his friends. “Everything was just beautiful,” she said.
McCarthy joined the village’s beautification committee in 1996, when Doreen Ehrbar, Paul Ehrbar’s wife, who was mayor before him, was a trustee. In that capacity he helped maintain Hillside Avenue’s flowered median and other small projects, Doreen Ehrbar said.
When he went on to serve as trustee, Ehrbar said he always carefully weighed what actions to take.
“He was always level headed when we had to make decisions, and thought things through,” Ehrbar said.
Rosemarie Cavallaro, the director of the parish social ministry at the Church of St. Aidan in Williston Park, said she could still remember him talking to the girls he coached, including her daughter.
She said McCarthy instilled the value of teamwork, commitment and doing your best in the children he coached, as well as kindness.
“He was a good, good man. He never raised his voice, and if something happened on the field that wasn’t so nice, he never made it worse,” Cavallaro said. “He tried to soften it, he tried to show the girls how to remedy the situation with goodness.”
In addition to his wife, McCarthy is survived by three children, Christine Lopes of New Hyde Park, Gene McCarthy of Albertson and Kevin McCarthy of New Jersey, as well as a brother, Jerry McCarthy, and eight grandchildren.
“Whatever talent he had, he was willing to share it with people,” Rose McCarthy said.