Former New York State Gov. Hugh Carey died this past weekend. His was a singular life.
In 2001, while in Rome for then-Archbishop Edward Egan's elevation to the College of Cardinals, two Irish-American colleagues and I buttonholed Gov. Carey late in the evening in the lobby of the Hotel Hassler, where we were staying. Governor Carey joined our group and we spent time discussing politics and the historic federal legislation, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which he was proud to have helped pass. Almost by instinct, we moved over to the piano with cigars and libations in-hand and sang Frank Sinatra's version of "New York, New York," with Gov. Carey leading the way. It was a night to remember. He will be missed.
Here is The New York Times story on Gov. Carey's passing.
"Hugh Carey followed an educational path well worn by Brooklyn’s Irish Catholic sons: St. Augustine’s Academy and High School, St. John’s College. He left school to enlist in a National Guard cavalry unit in 1939, at a time when the cavalry still rode horses. Years later he would regale upstate audiences with tales of his equestrian experiences at Camp Drum, near Watertown, providing a local touch that voters relished. When his unit was activated, he was transferred to the infantry."
"In 1947 he married Helen Owen Twohy, the widow of a Navy flier killed in the war, and adopted her daughter. They had 13 more children together and divided their time between Park Slope and a rambling white house with a wraparound porch on Shelter Island that in time became the family homestead."