A&P C.O.O., WWII “China Marine”, Villanova Hall of Famer
NAPLES, Fla. — The Funeral Mass was held Aug. 26 at St. John the Evangelist Church, Naples for Mr. Joseph H. McCarthy Jr., former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, Inc., Captain U.S. Marine Corps and World War II Veteran in the Pacific Theater and Villanova University Hall of Fame football player and graduate passed Aug. 20.
Joseph H. McCarthy Jr. was born in Derby, Conn. on Dec. 21, 1921, son of Joseph H. McCarthy and Katherine McCarthy (Feeley) and raised in Stamford, Conn.
Mr. McCarthy attended Stamford High School and was a leader on the football team. Joe was awarded a football scholarship by Villanova University and graduated with a BS in Economics with a major in Marketing. Mr. McCarthy was well known as an outstanding tackle, playing offense and defense, a full 60 minutes under the coaching of John “Clipper” Smith and Jordan Olivar.
Mr. McCarthy graduated Villanova early in December 1944, as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. After finalizing his training at the U.S. Naval Gunfire Liaison School, Coronado Amphibious Training Base in San Diego CA., he sailed to Hawaii for final deployment to the South Pacific where he ran into his roommate from Villanova, Navy Lieutenant, Richard Ryan. As was common at the time, Joe asked if any of Dick’s three sisters were still single…Dick gave him his youngest sister’s address back in Rockville Center, Long Island. Joe and Jean Ryan, who never met, started writing letters back and forth for close to two years while he was overseas.
Joe served in Okinawa and China theatres of War as a Forward Observer. Joe’s job was to land first on the islands and work his way to a higher elevation and radio back coordinates of the Japanese installations for the our Navy’s big guns. Joe was among the 1st Marine Division also known as the “China Marines” for over a year after the war ended; he led forces protecting the Chinese citizens from the non-surrendering Japanese soldiers, in and around the city of Tientsin, North China. During his down time, Joe started a boxing program amongst the different outfits and coached and boxed with some of the best known boxers in the South Pacific. He was later promoted to Captain USMC as he was recalled during the Korean conflict. Joe was ram rod straight, U.S. Marine.
When Joe arrived stateside, he finally had a chance to meet Jean Ryan, they dated and soon after were married in June 1947.
Beginning his career in the food industry, as a store manager with Finast (First National Supermarkets), the dominant food retailer in New England, Joe was promoted through various operations and merchandising positions to that of Senior Vice President. During his 30 years of service with Finast he was selected in 1955 to represent the chain at the International Food Congress and helped set up the first supermarket in Rome, Italy. In 1959 Joe was selected to set up and manage the largest supermarket in metro New York at the time, the Finast located at Cross County Center, Yonkers, NY.
He was associated with the Grand Union Company from 1977 to 1981 as Regional Vice President, and later promoted to the position of the Senior Vice President.
In June 1981 he joined The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, Inc., as Senior Vice President of the Metro Group. Mr. McCarthy was subsequently elected Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer U.S. and Canada. He retired from A&P in 1990. During his leadership, A&P and its German owners experienced significant growth in sales and earnings.
During his career, many honors came his way, notably the 1972 Man of the Year Award for the National Conference of Christians and Jews in New York. He was named 1981 Man of the Year for the Catholic Institute of the Food Industry, a year later was honored by Boys Town of Italy, in 1987 was honored by St. Peter’s College, in 1988 was voted into the Villanova Football Hall of Fame, in 1992 he was named Honorary Tour Chairman of the New York Athletic Club Rugby Teams Tour de France and 2005 was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award by the New Jersey Food Council.
Joe was always giving both his time and gifts including St. Elizabeth’s RC in Wyckoff, N.J., Villanova University, Francis Ouimet Scholarship Foundation and Covenant House in NYC.
“Big Joe” McCarthy loved golf and was a great Irish American with his great grandfather, Timothy McCarthy, emigrating from Castle Island, Cork, Ireland. Joe visited Ireland 16 times, mostly with the infamous golfing group, the “Green Jackets” of the New York area. Big Joe was a member of six Golf Clubs over the years, Wallingford Golf Club in Wallingford Conn., Hackensack Golf Club in Oradell, N.J., Weston Golf Club, in Weston Mass., Eastward Ho in Chatham, Mass. and Imperial Golf Club in Naples Fla., and was also a daily communicant at St. John’s Evangelist RC in Naples, Fla., and Holy Redeemer RC in Chatham Mass.
Mr. McCarthy is survived by his wife of 66 years, Jean K. (Ryan) of Naples, and their five children, Timothy (Cynthia) McCarthy of Woodstock, Maureen McCarthy of New York City, Barbara (Gregory) Blue, Tampa, Fla., Richard McCarthy, of Naples and Joseph H. (Kimberly) McCarthy III of Kinnelon, N.J., six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund at www.ouimet.org.
This obituary first appeared in the August 29, 2013 print edition of the Vermont Standard.
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