By Rich Pollack
DELRAY BEACH — Kevin McCarty loved serving his community and helping others.
Mr. McCarty, who died early last month at the age of 69 following a battle with pancreatic cancer, chaired the South Florida Water Management District in 2005, served on the board of Enterprise Florida and held seats on the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency and the city’s Housing Authority.
Throughout it all, he kept a surprisingly low profile, often remaining content to be in the shadow of his more well-known wife, former Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty.
“Kevin was a quiet leader,” said former Delray Beach Mayor Jay Alperin, a longtime friend and golfing buddy. “He would stand back and do things and then let other people take the credit.”
A successful stock broker and public finance banker who worked at the Raymond James Financial office in Delray Beach and later was managing director of the Bear, Stearns & Co. Boca Raton office, Mr. McCarty is remembered for his generosity and kindness and for his willingness to always lend a hand.
“Kevin was always happy not to be in the spotlight,” Mary McCarty said. “It was always about other people — me, his mother — and about the community. There was no ego involved with him. He was just very gracious.”
In addition to his civic involvement, Mr. McCarty was very active in politics, serving as a Palm Beach County Republican state committeeman for 12 years and a delegate to four Republican national conventions.
Although Mr. McCarty and Alperin had vastly different political views, they were able to talk politics and have friendly debates.
“He was always a gentleman, respectful of the opinion of others,” Alperin said. “We’d have some tough discussions, then we’d go and get a drink.”
An avid golfer who played with Alperin every Sunday for many years, Mr. McCarty also loved the water, often finding time to go fishing.
His favorite place, however, was home, to spend time with his wife and the couple’s dogs.
Married for 38 years, Mr. McCarty and his wife remained devoted to one another during a federal investigation that led to both receiving prison sentences.
Caught up in an investigation a decade ago that led to Mary McCarty’s being convicted of charges related to misuse of office, Mr. McCarty was sentenced to eight months in federal prison for failing to report that his wife illegally benefited from her elected position.
“Never once was an ill word said to me in this situation,” Mary McCarty said. “If there was something in the universe that thought it would tear us apart, it just cemented us closer.”
She said Mr. McCarty’s experience in prison and with the judicial system likely helped him prepare for a 17-month battle with cancer.
“In both situations there are things you can’t control, so you manage around the edges, working with things you can control,” she said. “You find the best doctors and get the best treatment.”
Throughout the battle with pancreatic cancer, Mr. McCarty tried to lead as much of a normal life as possible.
“He never complained, he just wanted to do whatever he could to survive,” Mary McCarty said. “He was an inspiration.”
Mary McCarty was at her husband’s side when he died in their Delray Beach home during the early morning hours of Aug. 5.
Mr. McCarty is survived by his wife; a sister, Mary Conklin of Winsted, Conn.; and cousins Christine and Paul McCarty of Jensen Beach, Marie Stuart of Vernon, Conn., and Paul Raymond of Canterbury, N.H.
A memorial Mass was held on Aug. 17 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Boynton Beach.
Instead of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Suzanne Wright Foundation, Code Purple Now for pancreatic cancer research, www.suzannewrightfoundation.org.