Michael   McCarthy

Obituary of Michael O. McCarthy

  Michael O. McCarthy

July 9, 1940- May 4, 2023

Tempe, Arizona

A life well lived! We are the lucky ones to have known and loved the man we call Dad, Papa, Grandpa, Brother, Uncle and most of all Friend. He loved life and the people in it and life loved him back.

Born July 9th, 1940 to Mr. & Mrs. Harry and Vivian McCarthy in Jamestown, ND, Michael's life began as one of "The Twins". He was 11 minutes older than his brother Tim (wink and smile).

His father, Harry, worked for Northern Pacific RailRoad, while his mother was busy raising three children during the 1940's era. The bond created with the McCarthy family through Michael is a treasure given to us, his descendants.

In 1958, he was captain of the football team and a graduate of St. Johns High School.

After graduation he chose to fulfill his father's wish, for one of the twins to become a priest. The McCarthy's are an Irish family filled with faith. After one semester at Benedictine Abbey, he decided it was not his path.

During the Cold War, Michael elected to join the Army. Luck followed him throughout life. While in the Army he was assigned a clerical job after demonstrating his prowess at typing. The two years served were filled with new friendships, smart decisions and a new outlook on life.

He was honorably discharged 2 months early to work for a local engineering company in the midwest. Subsequently, it was all perfect timing, making use of the G.I. Bill to pay for college, he earned a degree in accounting from Valley City State University, ND.

In the summer of 1961, on a blind double date, he met his forever love, Karen. During christmas eve mass, he slipped the ring on her finger right before communion. Her girlfriends could see the sparkle from her smile and on her hand as she walked down the aisle.

Karen and Mike were married October 10, 1964, at St. James Basilica in Jamestown, ND. The following year Karen gave birth to their 1st born, Ann. They packed up their belongings and drove out west to create a new family life. During the drive they encountered a snowstorm that took them away from the idea of settling in Colorado and into the direction of Oregon.

Oregon is where the family adventures began. He interviewed for two companies. One, a vegetable canning facility and the other, Safeco Insurance. His insurance career took off with Safeco and later with State Farm. Adding to the family, two more daughters arrived; Marnie and Jenny. He loved animals as well. Always having a dog in the house; beagle, irish setters, cockapoo, poodles, Teddy the swimmer and in his final years, Callie and Vader who brought much comfort.

Outdoor activities were Michael's favorite places to find nourishment. Along with teaching his family new adventures and sports. In the summer, camping at Beverly Beach in Oregon, in the winter, cross country skiing with family and friends and in the spring, heading to the lakes and rivers to fish, catching salmon and rainbow trout. Deep sea fishing with his buddies was a favorite too. 

He played a key role in the area of sports with his daughters. With Keizer Little League, building softball fields and mowing all the fields. He was an asset to building friendships with the baseball and softball community. He was a coach for his daughters teams and was an umpire later in the seasons. He and Karen were the timers and carpool for Salem Aquatics Club and the Y.M.C.A. swim teams. Michael was also a big part of McNary High School fundraising and sports. 

The holy spirit was a strong thread throughout his life. He served at St. Vincent De Paul and St. Edwards (Oregon), St. Timothy's (Mesa, Az) and finally Praise and Worship (Chandler, AZ).There he found deep friendships and a meaningful connection with God. Relationships built with people and God at Praise and Worship aided him well after the passing of his wife three and half years ago.

While his insurance career with State Farm and Country Companies was filled with Property Insurance Claims, Fire and Storm losses, he was one of the few who knew how to manage, teach and lead others. His reputation for being a professional was outstanding. We called him the "Storm Chaser". His assistant, Bev Cox, was his secret weapon. She kept him organized and on his toes. In 2003, Michael retired from the insurance business.

He took a year off to play golf, travel and spend time with family and friends.

After that year, he was ready to go back to work. He joined his son in law, Peter Hill, at Salt River Tubing Recreation (SRTR) as a supervisor. Many great stories, exciting events and friendships came out of those 18 years working the river. His final season in 2023 at 82 years young!

He was a man who loved to tell stories, connect with people and life itself. His light and love are woven into the lives of those who he loved and those who loved him.

He is preceded in death by his wife Karen, grandson Jacob, niece Beth, nephew Dan, brother-in-law Jerry DeMerrel. He is survived by his daughters; Ann (Mark) Edwards, Marnie (Eric) Exum, Jennifer (Peter) McCarthy-Hill, brother Tim (Pat) McCarthy, sister Theresa DeMerrel, nine grandchildren, four great grandchildren, three nieces, one nephew, eight grand nieces and nephews.

We rejoice in knowing he is with God and his forever love, Karen. He took the Heaven bound flight on May 4th, 2023.


Please join us in Celebration of Life:

Friday June 30, 2023 @ 6pm

(Reception to follow)

Praise and Worship Center

2551 North Arizona Avenue

Chandler, Arizona 85225



*Donations may be made to

Praise and Worship with the address above


Hospice of the Valley

1510 E. Flower St. 

Phoenix, Arizona 85014.

Thank you in advance.

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