John C. "Jack" Carney Sr.
1925 - 2014
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John C. Carney, Sr. "Jack"

AGE: 89 • Wilmington

Jack Carney died, peacefully and surrounded by his loving family, on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, after 89 years of a wonderful life. He was born February 11, 1925 in Carbondale, PA, the son and only child of Margaret (Fallon) and Charles Carney. On June 26 of this year, he and his wife, Ann (Buckley), celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Jack grew up in West Philadelphia, in an apartment above a candy store run by his mother. He was a proud graduate of West Catholic High School and of St. Joseph's University, where he played basketball for Coach Bill Ferguson, and received his Master's degree from Temple University. He remained a devoted St. Joe's fan and would greet fellow alumni cheerfully, "The Hawk will never die." He was also a great fan of Philadelphia's professional sports teams and the University of Delaware, and especially of his children's and grandchildren's school and college teams.

Jack was a teacher, guidance counselor, and longtime administrator in the Brandywine School District and the former Wilmington Public Schools District. His professional life's work was to help others—especially children and adolescents—to reach their full potential. After he retired, Jack developed a Human Ecology curriculum for schools, and created the Human Ecology Foundation to promote it, a passion that reflected Jack's lifelong belief in education as essential not only for individual success but for responsible citizenship and the common good.

His own community service included volunteer work and board leadership with American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and March of Dimes. With Ann, he was a volunteer at Wilmington Hospital, serving communion and good cheer to patients, for more than 20 years; the family extends special thanks to the Hospital staff for their care and support. He was active with the Men of Malvern, a spiritual retreat program, for more than 60 years. He founded and then led the CCD program at Holy Rosary, and also helped to secure the grant to hire the first executive director for the Autism Society of Delaware. Jack was honored by former Governor Mike Castle with the 1986 State Volunteer of the Year Award.

Together in their Claymont home of 50 years, Jack and Ann raised nine children; all were present for their parents' anniversary celebration last month. Jack took the deepest pleasure, and always found humor, in the adventures of the big family, and was famous for enticing neighbors, friends, and more than a few strangers to help along the way, whether with home repairs, vacation stops and sports tickets, or just a good bargain. Jack was known never to miss, and occasionally to create, opportunities to break into song, and he and Ann always welcomed family and friends, and their children's friends, in times of both need and celebration.

Jack took joy in life as a true devotion—to faith, family, education, community service, his Irish heritage, and his sports teams. He shared that joy with a sincerity and selflessness that are rare, indeed, gathering friends, fans, and singing partners across endeavors and generations. He encouraged everyone he met to "keep up the good work" and "thanks for being you," and always made the people around him feel cherished.

Survivors include Jack's wife of 60 years, Ann; children Margaret McCaffery (Michael) of Hillsborough, CA; John (Tracey) of Wilmington; Michael (Niamh) of Newark; Elizabeth O'Neill (Brendan) of Wilmington; Mary Wright (Michael Keating) of Denver, CO; Joseph (Gail) of Wilmington; Edward of Wilmington; Theresa McCullough (Mark) of Charlottesville, VA; and Claire (Rob Stone) of Wilmington; 19 grandchildren—Maureen, Michael, and Christopher McCaffery; Sam and Jimmy Carney; Hannah Carney; Brendan, Eamon, Lorraine, Claire, and Brian O'Neill; Jonathan Fallers, Annie and Catherine Wright; Kathlyn Carney; Gabriella and John Paul Carney; and Matthew and Hope McCullough; brothers-in-law Francis (Mickey) and John (Sheila) Buckley and their families. All join in thanks for Jack's life on earth and for the endurance of his joyful spirit, the wind now forever at his back.

Visitation will be held on Monday, July 14, from 6:00-9:00 pm at Holy Rosary Church, 3200 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, DE 19703. An additional visitation will be held on Tuesday, July 15, 9:30-10:30 am at church with the Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am. Burial will follow at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions are welcome to the Ann and Jack Carney Scholarship Fund at St. Mark's High School, 2501 Pike Creek Road, Wilmington DE 19808 or to the Human Ecology Foundation at

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Published in The News Journal from Jul. 11 to Jul. 13, 2014.
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