Obituary of John Carey
John Carey, who had a long and distinguished career as a public servant in Rye, as an attorney and legal scholar, and as a judge, passed away the morning of October 7, 2019 in his hometown of Rye, N.Y. He was 95.
During his judicial career, John Carey was known for his carefully written judgments, including on the issue of the extent to which lawyers could consider the race of potential jurors in voire dire in order to prevent juries composed of only members of one race. He was most well-known for presiding over both murder trails of Carolyn Warmus, in White Plains, the first ending in mistrial and the second in her conviction. The trial became famous after the release of the film “Fatal Attraction”, whose plot is loosely based on the case.
As a City Councilman, where he was one of two of the first Democrats elected in Rye, Mr. Carey worked on the acquisition of Rye Golf Club and a municipal beach next to Playland Amusement Park. As Mayor, he was known for building coalitions between Democrats and Republicans during his two terms in office from 1974 to 1982. Among his more well-known contributions, was his successful effort to provide skateboarding for citizens in public streets — there is a famous photograph of him skateboarding to make his point —, such as the entry road to City Hall, and his success in ensuring that the new New Haven line trains had doors that would not close and drag passengers who might be caught in the doors. After serving as Mayor, he hosted a community interview show, as well as a weekly update of actions at the United Nations, entitled “UN Week”. For many years, Mr. Carey also served at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland.
Born in Philadelphia to Margaret (Bacon) and Reginald Carey in 1924, he lost his father at the age of 7, after which the family moved to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. There he lived at “Creek Farm”, which was nearly demolished twice including in July of this year but appears to have been saved by the efforts of community preservationists in Portsmouth. After World War II, he served as trustee of Little Harbor Chapel, which was built by his grandfather Arthur A. Carey in 1902, for close to six decades.
He graduated from Milton Academy in 1942, Yale College in 1945, Harvard Law School in 1949, and, in 1965, earned a Master’s of Law from NYU, where he wrote his thesis under the late Professor Thomas Franck.
He served as an Ensign and then was promoted to a Lieutenant Junior Grade in World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters from August 1943 to January 1946 on anti-Submarine ships, the USS DE-160 and the USS PC-1245.
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