Dr. Eileen Carey McCoy, age 78, passed away on Friday, March 4, 2011, at Bridges Cornell Heights, in Ithaca, New York, which had been her home for the past three years.
Dr. McCoy was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, to James Bernard and Nan Dalton Carey on October 30, 1932. She attended St. Aloysius Academy, Jersey City, and went on to earn her BA in English from Saint Elizabeth’s College in Convent Station, NJ, and both an MA in English, Magna Cum Laude, and an Ed.D. from Farleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ. She also earned a certificate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, Institute for the Management of Lifelong Education.
Dr. McCoy was a lifelong educator working as a teaching fellow at Farleigh Dickinson University, a tenured Assistant Professor in the English Department at the County College of Morris, NJ, and was the Director of Community Relations, adjunct faculty in the English Department, and Dean of Community Education, Community Services and Continuing Education at Raritan Valley Community College, NJ. Along with her dedication to and leadership in higher education, Dr. McCoy was also committed to public service being elected to positions on the Montgomery Township Committee in Somerset County and the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders. As a member of the Montgomery Township Committee, she also served as Deputy Mayor. She held numerous political leadership positions in both Somerset and Morris Counties as a Republican Committeewoman, Executive Director and Chair of County Republican Organizations, and as a Municipal Chair. She was very involved in national, state, county, and municipal Republican campaigns, and served as an alternate delegate to the 1976 Republican National Convention.
In addition to her public service in politics, Dr. McCoy served on numerous higher education councils and committees as a leader on a national, state, and local level. She was active on boards and committees committed to community service such as the NJ State Board of Community Mental Health, Somerset County Chamber of Commerce, Somerset County Private Industry Council, Somerset County Multi-Cultural Diversity Committee, Somerset County Resource Center for Women and Their Families, Somerset County Commission on Women, Somerset County Office on Aging Advisory Council, Somerset-Hunterdon Chapter of the American Heart Association, Irish American Public Action Committee, American Cancer Society, Morris County Health and Hospital Planning Council, Delbarton School Lay Board of Trustees, Somerset County Arts Council, and the United Way of Somerset Valley. Dr. McCoy also served as President and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Rotary International Club of Branchburg. She earned the honor of being the first woman to hold higher office in many national and local organizations.
Dr. McCoy received numerous awards throughout her career in higher education and public service. She was recognized as one of fifteen Outstanding Women Administrators in Higher Education in the United States from the American Council on Education and American Association of Community and Junior Colleges. Other awards include the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Women in Business Award, the Tercentenary Award as Founding Chair of the Somerset County Commission on Women, the Righteous Gentile Award from the Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties, the National Council for Continuing Education and Community Service Person of the Year Award, the Rolling Hills Girl Scout Council Women of Achievement Award, the College of Saint Elizabeth Vincentian Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education, the Career Awareness Program for Ethnic Minority Students Recognition Award from the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., Raritan Valley Section, and has been listed in Who’s Who in the East and Who’s Who in America.
Aside from Dr. McCoy’s many professional and public achievements, she was a patron of the arts as well as an accomplished artist herself whose own work has been publically hung. She had a great love for literature, poetry, theatre, and writing, a legacy which she has passed down to the next generations.
Dr. McCoy was predeceased by her husband Thomas James McCoy Jr., and is survived by her son Thomas James McCoy lll, his partner Patricia Hollister, her daughter Eileen McCoy Whang, son-in-law Kyu Jung Whang, and grandchildren Maura Carey Whang, Andrew James Whang, and Ariana Florica McCoy. She is also survived by her sister Mary Joan McNamara, brother-in-law Robert McNamara, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 9:30am on Friday, March 11 at the Immaculate Conception Church, 35 Mountain Ave., Somerville. Interment to follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover. Visiting hours are from 2-4pm and 7-9pm on Thursday, March 10 at the Cusick Funeral Home, 80 Mountain Ave., Somerville
In lieu of flowers please send donations to Somerset County Meals on Wheels, PO Box 3000, Somerville, NJ, 08876, Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, 612 W. State Street, Ithaca, NY, 14850, or Tompkins County Gadabout, 737 Willow Avenue, Ithaca, NY, 14850.