Major James William McCarthy, CD
In Loving Memory
August 16, 1925 – January 11, 2021
Well and widely known William McCarthy, passed away at Anson General Hospital on January 11th, 2021. He is predeceased by his wife, Mary, two brothers, and two sisters. He is survived by daughter Kathie Langfield; nieces and nephews Helen Branfield, Tom Gregg, Nick Gregg, and Peter Corcoran; and grandson Mac Langfield.
Bill was born in Matheson in August 1925. A lifelong resident of Iroquois Falls, he received his education at elementary and secondary schools in Iroquois Falls and later, after World War II, at Queen’s University. In 1942, Bill tried to enlist in the Canadian Navy to serve, but was told to wait until age 18, when he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He received his training as an Air Navigator at a commonwealth air training centre in Western Canada. After his discharge and post-secondary education, Bill worked for 36 years for the Abitibi Power and Paper Company in the Mechanical Department from Toronto, holding various engineering and supervisory project positions in multiple locations in the province until his retirement from Abitibi Price in1986. Following World War II, his generation became deeply committed to building a better society and communities. Bill’s contributions to this and the next generation are well known. He was a dedicated volunteer in the creation of the Abitibi Arena in the early 1950s. He was a founding member of the Rotary Club in 1965, which subsequently became the founding sponsor for #792 Air Cadet Squadron in 1969. Bill reenrolled as an officer and was instrumental in helping Rotary purchase its own glider for the squadron and the cadet region. With his glider training and with his mechanical knowledge, the local squadron built its own winch so that the Arctic Watershed Gliding Centre could train and mentor hundreds of pilots and ground crew. For years, #792 led the way in flight training with Bill in the cockpit as senior instructor. Bill prided himself in having brought three generations of people into the air. He spent every weekend in the spring and fall with eager cadets. He spent some summers in CFB Trenton flying tow planes for young pilots from all over the Province. Major McCarthy’s influence was also strong at Ontario Provincial Command and with the Air Cadet League of Canada. After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65, Major McCarthy continued in the Gliding Program as a civilian instructor. He came to the airport every flyingweekend to help where he could. In October 2008, 792 Squadron was renamed the 792 Major W. McCarthy Squadron. At the time, only four of over 125 squadrons carried personal names. The others were after MGen Richard Rohmer, Hon Lincoln, Alexander Capt Marc Garneau, and Col Chris Hadfield!! His honours include the Canadian Forces' Decoration (CD), the Centennial Medal, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, and various high honours from Provincial and National Commands. Major McCarthy was a proud Canadian. We will not forget his rigid posture as he saluted the fallen at the Cenotaph in the snow and the sleet. He often accompanied aging veterans to the cemetery, or to monuments on their “special days”. He was fiercely loyal to his generation of men and women warriors, making sure all their names would be remembered on the Veteran’s Monument; by visiting the sick veterans and widows; by enabling them to benefit from the Poppy Fund; by speaking at countless Remembrance Day services at schools and the Legion banquets. He often bought many hot meals at the Legion Fish Fry to take to veterans at the Manor! Bill joined Royal Canadian Legion Branch 70 in January 1953 and was named a Lifetime Member in 1990, holding every executive position, including President in in 1963-64, as well as positions at the regional level.
At his passing, Bill was Executive Past-President. Bill McCarthy loved his family, his wife, his daughter, and his young cadets whom he taught, mentored, and continued to follow in their various aviation careers and vocations. He was an exacting leader who demanded excellence, detail, and accuracy in every endeavour.
Funeral arrangements will be announced later in the spring and memorial donations can be made to the Legion Poppy Fund or the Major J.W. McCarthy 792 Air Cadet Squadron, or a charity of your choice, and would be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, tributes continue to pour in from every corner, including this: To share your memories or photos of Major McCarthy, please visit irvineandirvinefuneralhome.com
“A piece from my heart. I am honoured and grateful to have called this wonderful man, my father,”
Bill’s loving daughter, Kathie.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to:
Irvine & Irvine Funeral Home & Northern Crematorium
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James William McCarthy, please visit our floral store.
Royal Canadian Legion branch #70 - Poppy Fund
185 Devonshire Ave., Iroquois Falls ON P0K 1E0
Major J.W. McCarthy 792 Air Cadet Squadron
P.O. Box 55, Iroquois Falls ON P0K 1E0