William F. McCarthy passed away in the embrace of his wife and three children on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.
Known to friends and family as Bill, he was a devoted brother, husband, father, and grandfather who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the nation’s most prominent attorneys in bankruptcy law. He is survived by his wife, Nicole, and passed away just before the 54th anniversary of the day they met waiting in line at a Coca-Cola machine outside a college dance in April 1964. Bill would frequently say he fell in love with his future wife in the moment he first saw Nicole. Among the greatest joys of Bill’s life was spending time with his five beloved grandchildren: Aidan, Brendan, Eileen, Simone, and Madeline. He is survived by his daughter Jennifer and her husband Michael, son James and his wife Patricia, and daughter Danielle and her husband Adam. Bill also leaves his brother Jim, sister-in-law Bonnie, sister Eileen, and his niece and goddaughter Julie. Bill greatly enjoyed being a part of and spending time with his wife’s large clan, and reveled in hosting them each year on Thanksgiving.
Bill was born in Greenfield Massachusetts on February 9, 1944, the eldest of Walter L. and Katherine J. McCarthy’s three children. His father was a city bus driver and his mother was a secretary at a tap and dye factory. Walter passed away when Bill was seven years old. From then on Katherine raised her three children as a single mother.
He was a devout Catholic, and received his early formative education from the Sisters of Saint Joseph at Holy Trinity School, whom Bill described as “smart women with a reasonable sense of humor, who were clear in exposition and fair in expectation.” Bill later attended Deerfield Academy as a scholarship day student, graduating Class of 1963. He graduated in 1967 from the College of the Holy Cross and received his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1970. Bill enrolled at Officers Candidate School for the U.S. Marine Corps and went on active duty in January 1971. He graduated from the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island in October 1971. He was assigned to the Second Marine Division and served as a Judge Advocate at Quantico and Camp Lejeune, achieving the rank of Captain before completing his military service in December 1973. Bill remained a proud Marine for the rest of his life.
Bill joined the Boston law firm of Ropes & Gray, becoming a partner in 1979, and served as head of the Bankruptcy and Business Restructuring Group at the firm from 1989 until 2004. Throughout his practice, he represented both debtors and creditors in major reorganization cases across the United States. He retired from Ropes & Gray in December 2004.
Bill was known for his sharp wit, generosity, loyalty, and remarkable recall of historical facts. He nurtured a lifelong love of reading and learning in his children and grandchildren, with a particular passion for graduate seminar-like mealtime discussions of Classical, European, and American history, as well as current events. Bill was an avid lifelong fisherman, first learning to cast with a bamboo pole as a boy in the rivers near Greenfield. He would go on to teach each of his children and grandchildren to fish, and cherished the hours fishing in their company. Bill was also a keen golfer, boater, and outdoorsman for much of his life. He was a proud member of Winchester Country Club and Bald Peak Country Club in New Hampshire. He served for a time as Winchester’s president while overseeing a significant remodeling and expansion of club facilities.
A few years into an extremely active retirement, Bill was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a poorly understood terminal disease of the lungs. Bill’s family would like to thank all of Bill’s friends for the support shown to him during his life and especially after his diagnosis. Bill loved his friends and was grateful for their friendship.
Funeral mass with military honors for Bill will be held Wednesday at 10AM at St. Eulalia’s Church, 50 Ridge Street, Winchester. Calling hours are Tuesday from 3-7 PM at Lane Funeral Home, 760 Main Street, Winchester. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Katherine Campbell McCarthy Scholarship Fund, College of the Holy Cross, Box Dev, 1 College Street, Worcester MA 01610. Bill established the fund to benefit students of single mothers like his own. Please be sure to include “Katherine Campbell McCarthy Scholarship Fund” in the memo field.