Obituaries (September 23, 2011)

0:00 In Remembrance — John Carey Jr. John Carey Jr., 56, died September 12, in San Francisco. The cause of death was multiple complications from […]

Published October 6, 2011 6:13 PM
6 min read


In Remembrance — John Carey Jr.

John Carey Jr., 56, died September 12, in San Francisco. The cause of death was multiple complications from loss of oxygen to his brain. He had been unconscious since March when he choked on food and lost his pulse until an ambulance crew arrived and could restart his heart. His family, who went back and forth to visit him these last few months, said he was able to hear the words of love and comfort they offered.


John Carey inside

“The world just lost one of the best human beings I have ever known,” said longtime friend Robert Sherwin on hearing of his passing. “I learned so much by just listening to his brilliant mind at work.” Rob’s brother Peter added, “Johnny was an extraordinary human being of great moral character. Even when he was deep in the throes of wrestling with his illness, you could feel his integrity fighting it every inch of the way.”


Johnny, as his family and friends called him, was an athlete and a scholar. He was the elected head of the student body at Rye High School, class of 1973, and co-captain of the football team the preceding fall. He excelled on the gridiron, at wrestling, skiing, and lacrosse, as well as in the classroom.


Retired Rye High School teacher Maurio Sax recalled, “He was an athlete for all seasons. His leadership and accomplishments as Student Council President are legendary.”


After graduation, Mr. Carey successfully managed his father’s campaign for Mayor of Rye, the first Democrat elected to that position.


Midway through his second year at Yale University, he found he could not continue because of the onset of a debilitating and incurable disease. Yale promised to take him back whenever he was ready, but concentration had become too difficult.


Years later, Mr. Carey earned a B.A. from SUNY Purchase, majoring in philosophy, a field requiring intense concentration. So great was his potential in philosophy that SUNY arranged graduate study programs for him at several universities. He matriculated at the University of California, Riverside, but was not able to continue.


Johnny refused to let his illness define or limit him. For more than three decades, he pursued his philosophical research and writing, as well as working as an editor, helping others to refine their writing and take it to a higher level. At the time of his accident in March, he was learning to read and write in Mandarin Chinese, his fourth language after French, Spanish, and English.


Longtime family friends Patrick and Anita Flood recalled, “His adult life was one of suffering, but not of defeat. He surely inspired many, many people when, after being hit by colossal blows to his health in the springtime of life, he showed the courage and determination to make the most of every day, every opportunity.”


Despite living with a movement problem caused by medications, Mr. Carey continued to write with pad and pencil, and possessed the structured penmanship of a master scribe. A devoted pacifist and Catholic, he lived the teachings of Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy, seeking truth and justice for all.


His deep blue eyes and caring smile, and his unwavering love of friends and family, will continue to live in their hearts and minds.


He is survived by his parents, Patricia and John; brothers Chip and Douglas and sister Jennifer; as well as their spouses and children.


A wake will be held September 22 from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Graham Funeral Home in Rye.  Mr. Carey’s life will be celebrated September 23 at 11 a.m. at the Pavilion in Rye Town Park. All who wish to speak will have the opportunity to do so. In case of heavy rain, the event will be held in the Rye Presbyterian Church Assembly Hall. His ashes will be interred at 2 p.m. that day at Greenwood Union Cemetery.

James Brewster Stevens

OBIT-STEVENSJames Brewster “Bruce” Stevens, beloved husband of Laurel (née Sirrs); father of Natalie, Lucas, and Matthew; son of Edelen and Jim Stevens; brother of Cory, Vincelee, and Nicole; and son-in-law of Margaret and Douglas Sirrs, passed away September 11.


Born and raised in Mexico, Mr. Stevens graduated from Stanford University (1980) and Harvard Business School (1985). He went on to a successful career in investment banking in New York City.


His greatest passions included going on scenic motorcycle rides, adding to his never-ending iTunes library, and being a tireless fan at his children’s sports events.


A memorial service was held at Rye Presbyterian Church, Saturday, September 17.

Mary L. Levett

Mary L. Levett passed away September 9. The longtime Rye resident was 66.



Born in the Bronx, December 30, 1944, she was the daughter of Malcolm and Janet 
Livingstone Levett.

After graduating from Rye High School, she
attended Manhattanville College. She received a B.S. in Food Service from Russell Sage College.


Ms. Levett was a 25-year employee of Texaco, Inc., where most recently she was an executive specializing in alternative energy. She retired when they closed the Harrison headquarters.


She served her community as a volunteer at United Way.


Ms. Levett is survived by her sister-in-law, Annette 
Levett of Walden, N.Y.; and three nephews: Benjamin Levett of Hopewell Junction, N.Y., Russell Levett and his wife Lisa of Kendall, N.Y., and Jon Levett and his wife Carrie 
of Wappinger Falls, N.Y. She was lovingly known as “Yo Mar” to her five grandnieces and grandnephews: Grace, Evan, Tiffany, Trent, and Taylor Mary. She was predeceased by her brother, John Levett.


memorial service will be held Saturday, September 24 at 11 a.m. at Rye Presbyterian Church. Donations in Ms. Levett’s memory may be made to United Way.


William A. Morse


William A. Morse of Wolfeboro, N.H., formerly of Rye, died September 7 at home, with his wife and daughter at his side. He was 85.


Born in Joliet, Ill., January 3, 1926, he was the son of Howard and Mabelle (Nobes) Morse. After graduating from Joliet Township High School, he served in the United States Marine Corp during World War II. Mr. Morse received the Purple Heart for injuries he received at Iwo Jima. After the war, he attended Joliet Junior College.


In January 1949 he married Priscilla Roth. He continued his education at the University of Illinois in Urbana, from which he received a B.S. in Sanitary Engineering.


In 1950, his career took him to New York and he and his wife settled in Rye.For the next 50 years, Mr. Morse was a member of Rye Presbyterian Church, and the Manursing Island and Apawamis clubs. He developed many close friendships playing tennis, bridge, and golf, and led a very active social life.


During the late 1960s, he and partner Tom McCormack formed Morse, McCormack, Inc., serving as manufacturer representatives for environmental equipment. Mr. Morse was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.


In 2001, the Morse’s moved to the Taylor Community in Wolfeboro. They continued spending summers at their cottage on Lake Winnipesaukee, where Mr. Morse enjoyed swimming, fishing, and boating.


His family said he would be remembered as an “honest, non-judgmental, and generous man who spoke with wisdom and humor.” He will be greatly missed by family and friends.


In addition to his wife Priscilla, and daughter Jeanette Morse and her partner Todd Butterfield of Moultonborough, N.H., Mr. Morse is survived by two sisters, Shirley Hamilton of Joliet, and Janet Clinton and her husband Harold of Belleville, Ill.; a sister- and brother-in-law, Jean and Robert Fitzer of Joliet; and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews who loved their “Uncle Bill”.


At the request of Mr. Morse, there were no services.


Memorial donations may be sent to Friends of Rye Town Park, P. O. Box 345, Rye, NY 10580.

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