'Jimmy Mac' the Leader
James J. McAlary Jr. was always a civic-minded sort of guy and a natural leader. A transplant from Upper Manhattan, he coached his kids' sports teams in Spring Lake Heights, N.J., and led trips to the Bronx Zoo. "If he was in charge, you felt safe," said his wife, Jeanne. "If Jimmy Mac said 'Let's go to Afghanistan,' you'd go."
Mr. McAlary, 42, a heating-oil trader at Carr Futures, was immersed in the life of his small town. In the summer, he would go from work straight to the town pool, changing from suit to swim trunks in the locker room and launching his 6-foot, 4-inch self into the water with a mighty cannonball. "All the kids would wait for Mr. McAlary to show up on the diving board," his wife said.
When he considered running for the school board awhile back, she said he did so for selfless reasons. "Jimmy said to me, 'When I was a young kid, I lived in Washington Heights and a lot of people did a lot of things for me they didn't have to do. They opened the gym at night, they coached baseball, they led the Boy Scouts and they made a big difference in my life. I have an opportunity now to help not just our own children but all the kids in our neighborhood.' "
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 26, 2001.
James McAlary Jr., 42, a rapid rise
James J. McAlary Jr. worked hard in his job as a commodities broker, but his life centered around his three young children -- Jillian, Joseph and James.
"The children were his biggest interest. He did everything with them," said his wife, the former Jeanne McCutcheon.
Mr. McAlary, 42, began coaching Little League in Spring Lake Heights five years ago when his daughter, Jillian, took up softball. Two years ago, he ran for the local school board where his two oldest children attend school.
"He thought it was a good opportunity to serve the community and be involved," said his wife.
Mr. McAlary, who worked for Carr Futures in the World Trade Center, has been missing since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
He and his wife grew up in upper Manhattan, he in Washington Heights and she in nearby Inwood. He attended Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx and later studied business at Westchester Community College and then Manhattan College.
They lived in Inwood for six years before moving to Spring Lake Heights, a beach community of 5,200 in Monmouth County, eight years ago.
The move to the Shore came about the time Mr. McAlary became a commodities broker for Dean Witter Reynolds. He'd started with the brokerage firm three years earlier as a clerk, but rose rapidly to become a trader specializing in heating oil.
"He stared at the bottom, but quickly became very successful," said his wife. Dean Witter was purchased by the investment banking firm of Morgan Stanley and the commodities unit was later taken over by Carr Futures.
Mr. McAlary loved living in Spring Lake Heights. "He loved the beach, swimming in the ocean and hanging out with the kids and their friends at the pool by the boardwalk at the South End," his wife said. "Everybody in town knew him."
A member of St. Catherine-St. Margaret's Parish in Spring Lake, Mr. McAlary is also survived by his parents, James and Ann McAlary Sr. of the Riverdale section of the Bronx; two brothers, John of Albany and Bryan of Riverdale; and two sisters, Joanne Sullivan of Riverdale and Karen Higdon of New York.
A memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Margaret's Roman Catholic Church in Spring Lake. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the James J. McAlary Jr. Children's Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 38123, Albany, N.Y. 12203.
Profile by Guy T. Baehr published in THE STAR-LEDGER.