Obituary

James J. Harnett dies at 63

Family & Children’s Association CEO dies unexpectedly

Posted

Known as the ultimate caregiver, James J. Harnett, 63, died unexpectedly on Jan. 23. Harnett shepherded the care of thousands of Long Islanders in his role as President and CEO of Family & Children’s Association, a human care agency serving Long Island’s neediest population. 

“He was tireless in his devotion to the needy of Long Island,” said Joyce Mullen, on behalf of The Family & Children's Association. “He was a strong leader with a gentle soul; he will be greatly missed.”

In addition to his role at Family & Children’s, Harnett served as advisor to The Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, member (and formerly, Secretary of the Board and Member of the Executive Committee); The Kimmel Housing Development Foundation, Inc., Member, Board of Directors; Long Island Federally Qualified Health Center, Chair, Board of Directors; New York State Association of Family Service Agencies, Vice President and Chair of the Advocacy Committee; New York State Health Foundation, Special Opportunity Grants, Peer Review Committee; United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Consultant, Management Training; The United Way of Long Island, Vice President, Agency Executives Council; Anna and Philip Kimmel Foundation, Advisor and Community Advocates, Board Member.

Prior to joining Family & Children’s in 2006, Harnett was the executive vice president, chief operating officer and secretary of Covenant House in New York City, a not-for-profit agency that provides shelter and service to homeless and runaway youth. He has also worked for Columbia University, Catholic Charities of the Brooklyn Diocese, the Catholic Guardian Society in Brooklyn and the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Atlanta. He also worked as a volunteer in

Karnataka State, India, for the United States Peace Corps.

Harnett earned his bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Cathedral College in Douglaston, Queens, in 1968. He received a master's degree in public administration from New York University in 1974, and completed the Harvard Business School's Strategic Perspectives in nonprofit Management Program in 1995.

Harnett is survived by his wife Fran, and their two children, Sarah and James, his mother, Eleanor, his sister Ellen, brother-in-law Bruce, brothers Richard and Robert, sister-in-law Smokey, and sister Joan.

“Harnett's devotion to his work was only surpassed by his commitment to his family,” according to a statement released by the Family & Children's Association. “He was a loving husband and proud father.”

Harnett is survived by his wife Fran, and their two children, Sarah and James, his mother, Eleanor, his sister Ellen, brother-in-law Bruce, brothers Richard and Robert, sister-in-law Smokey, and sister Joan.

At the family's request, memorial donations in Jim's honor may be made to Family and Children's Association, 100 E. Old Country Road, Mineola, NY 11501 (516-746-0350) or visit www.familyandchildrens.org/donate. Plans are underway to hold a formal tribute to Harnett, the statement read, and details will be announced as they become available.