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St Thomas Aquinas
955 Alton Rd
East Lansing, MI 48823
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Jerry McCarthy

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Jerry McCarthy Obituary
E. Jerome (Jerry) McCarthy

Age 87, passed away peacefully at home on December 3rd, 2015.

Survived by Joanne, loving wife of 66 years and brother Bob (Mary). Also survived by his 8 children; John, Joe, Kathleen Childress (Robin), Mary Ellen Zang (Paul), Carol Hodgman (Will), Tom (Anne Kelly), Anne Yost (Bill), Barb Plunkett (Steve) and 17 grandchildren.

Jerry lived his life with passion and purpose. Long before the term "follow your bliss" was a concept, he created a career path doing work he loved and made bold innovations to strengthen his field. He started his career as a sales rep for US Gypsum. Though he was successful, he soon realized he didn't love sales and really wanted to be a professor. Despite already having two babies and his wife to support, he boldly chose to quit the well-paying job and get his PhD at the University of Minnesota

Jerry and Joanne enjoyed happy years living in student housing and adding two more babies to the family. When he started his first teaching position at Notre Dame, Jerry discovered the existing business textbooks did not meet the needs of his students. In true Jerry style, he met this need by writing his own book, Basic Marketing, which became one the foremost business textbooks for decades. In the text, he introduced the concept of the "The 4 P's: Product, Price, Place, Promotion" which is still used today in marketing classes nationwide. The writing and editing of the book was a family enterprise, with Joanne serving as lead copywriter/editor and the kids contributing as soon as they could read by proofing, doing research, photography and more.

By the time all eight kids were born, Jerry began a decades-long career as a distinguished marketing professor at Michigan State University. His next passion was being an entrepreneurial businessman and becoming an internationally-acclaimed business consultant. In these roles he got to combine all his favorite skills, doing the work he always imagined in his younger years. Jerry worked hard and played hard, especially with his family. 

In the early years he created baby backpacks and bike seats long before they existed, so he and Joanne could bring all the kids biking, exploring and on cross-country camping trips. Always the competitor, he could make a card game a full-contact sport and once dislocated his finger in a headstand contest with the kids.

Jerry loved ice skating, sailing, skiing (willingly tying countless small ski boot laces before the invention of buckles!), theater, international travel and a good glass of wine.  Probably his happiest achievement was gathering all his kids and grandkids for the annual "McCarthy Mauler" in Harbor Springs for a week of crazy running races, beach games, rafting, an annual show by the grandkids, marshmallow shooter battles and plenty of great family bonding time. We will miss him so much.

Special thanks for the love and care Jerry received from wonderful care givers Diane F, Annie A. Connie, Sarai, Lisa, Yolanda and Jessica.

Funeral mass will be held at 10:30 am on January 2, 2016 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 955 Alton Rd, E. Lansing, MI. Visitation one hour prior to mass.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the "Joanne N. and E. Jerome McCarthy Endowment for Arts Education" at the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts, 750 E. Shaw Lane, E. Lansing, MI 48824 or Holy Childhood Church, 150 W Main St, Harbor Springs, MI 49740.



Published in Lansing State Journal on Dec. 27, 2015
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