Longtime Rockville Centre resident Charles “Gene” McCarthy, 93, retired assistant chief inspector with the New York City Police Department, died peacefully in his home the morning of April 29.
Truly one of New York’s Finest, McCarthy was born in the Bronx in 1920. Due to the untimely death of his father, he applied himself diligently, working several after-school jobs to help support his mother and three sisters. He graduated high school at the age of 16 and secured a full time job. After working for a Danish steamship company, he entered the Delehanty School for Police Science. This began his career and was where, years later, he would return periodically to teach the young cadets.
When World War ll began, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served primarily in the Panama Canal Zone as a Lieutenant-JG. He returned home and married his pre-war sweetheart, Irene Nonnon, his wife of 63 years. Together they raised 8 children and 1 foster child. He had 26 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.
The large family was a strong motivation for him to rise quickly through the ranks of the NYPD from Patrolman to Assistant Chief Inspector. Some of his later assignments included Commanding Officer of the Tactical Patrol Force and Borough Commander of Queens and Manhattan North. He assisted with the Warren Commission on Crime in Washington, D.C. and ended his career as Chief of Organized Crime Control.
After retirement from the NYPD, McCarthy devoted more time to family, church and community. His energies were deeply invested into the lives of his children, grandchildren and those around him. He loved family gatherings and was known, in his latter years to say, “Let’s have a party!” Like many of the “Greatest Generation,” he lived each day with purpose, demonstrating diligence and responsibility, no matter what the task or assignment.
Residing in Rockville Centre for over 50 years, McCarthy was an active member of St. Agnes Cathedral parish. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and served on different parish committees.
For several years, he volunteered his services at the local library preparing tax returns for the elderly. As a volunteer driver, he assisted the disabled, transporting them to doctor’s appointments or to wherever they needed.
The real steel in his spiritual backbone was tested when his wife developed Alzheimer’s disease some 14 years ago. At the age of 78, he realized he had one more loving duty to perform and his greatest work was still in front of him. The next 10 years truly were “his finest hour.” Over that decade, he provided for and supervised the finest care his wife could possibly receive. With the help of his large family, and a wonderful caregiver, he was able to honor his marriage vow of “for better or worse, in sickness and health,” and his deepest desire to keep her at home with him.
The memory of Charles Eugene McCarthy was honored at his wake and funeral on May 1 and 2 at Macken’s Mortuary and St. Agnes Cathedral. The New York City Police Department provided a full Honor Guard with pall bearers, showing their respect for this former chief.
The Rockville Centre Police Department and the Code Enforcement unit graciously assisted with traffic control from the cathedral which expedited McCarthy’s last journey to Holy Rood Cemetery.
The McCarthy Family sincerely thanks the many who were able to pay their condolences and be part of the ceremonies.
Donations in McCarthy’s name can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill.