City mourns Nashua Board of Aldermen president McCarthy, who died Sunday

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Nashua’s current Board of Aldermen. President Brian McCarthy, seated in the front row center, wearing a blue necktie, passed away Sunday evening unexpectedly. Photo/City of Nashua

NASHUA, NH  – The president of Nashua’s Board of Aldermen died suddenly Sunday night. He was 64.

Brian McCarthy was a longtime public servant, providing an even-handed presence as an alderman for 25 years, including five terms as president. His leadership was appreciated by all, regardless of political or philosophical differences.

Mayor Jim Donchess and Lori Wilshire, vice president of the aldermanic board,  issued the following joint statement Monday:

With deepest regret we want to inform you that Aldermanic President Brian McCarthy passed away early this morning. Alderman McCarthy served the city as a highly respected member of the Board of Aldermen for 25 years, including five terms as Board President.

Alderman McCarthy loved Nashua and was dedicated to the city. He accomplished a great deal during his years of service. Brian was instrumental in numerous school construction projects including serving as chair of the High School Building Committee for our two high schools. He was an advocate for and instrumental in the city’s acquisition of Pennichuck Water Works. Brian will be deeply missed by all.

On behalf of the entire city, we wish to express our deepest sympathy to Brian’s entire family.

All city meetings for the week of November 5th have been cancelled.

A bittersweet public Facebook post on Monday shared by McCarthy’s daughter Kim included a photo from the Patriot’s fancam, which captured a moment she will now cherish forever — they were attending Sunday’s Patriots game together — McCarthy was a season ticket-holder. Her father suffered an apparent heart attack following yesterday’s game.

“I am so incredibly grateful for the Patriots fancam today. It caught the last photo of me with my dad, at the Patriots game, watching them march down the field and score. We went to countless Pats games together and shared many concert experiences over the years. I love you dad. I’m so sorry this happened. I will miss you so much.”

As posted on Kim McCarthy’s public Facebook page.

Donnalee Lozeau, who served alongside McCarthy from 2008-2016 during her time as mayor, said McCarthy set a high bar when it comes to leadership.

“President McCarthy was a remarkable public official, his institutional knowledge, passion to education and unyielding dedication to the city is a significant loss. His efforts will long benefit our city. I learned a great deal from Brian and will always be grateful for his willingness to work together — even on the most difficult problems we faced particularly in uncertain times,” Lozeau said.  “His leadership and work ethic will also be missed by his colleagues and his staff. My heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife Gloria and his children John and Kim.”
Longtime friend of McCarthy and former Nashua Alderwoman Diane Sheehan said McCarthy was one of the people who inspired her to enter public service.
“We met while I was active with neighborhood crimewatch  and he was one of those people you could really talk to. He encouraged me to become politically active, before I ever told anyone I was even interested,” Sheehan said. “I took his advice because he was so smart, I really admired that about him.”
She served with McCarthy for five years before moving to North Carolina in 2015, but the two families remained friends. She recalled how the McCarthy’s hosted annual holiday parties, giving people a chance to dress up and socialize outside of the everyday grind working for the city.
McCarthy and his wife Gloria had visited the Sheehans in their new home.
“After I heard the news this morning I called Sue Lovering, who serves as legislative affairs manager for the aldermen, and she was in the mayor’s office crying, and Lori (Whilshire) was there and she was crying. Sue said we’re all leaning on each other here. It’s difficult for me at a time like this to be so far away. You somehow expect something like this with your parents, but when it’s your contemporaries, it rocks you so much harder,” Sheehan said.
Ward 4 Alderman Tom Lopez said McCarthy’s leadership has meant everything to the city.

“Brian was dedicated to building community, and his commitment to our city. He was a leader, and as a city, we are his legacy, for which I am grateful,” Lopez said.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Jan Schmidt, who joined the board in January, said,  “As a new member of the Board I quickly realized that Brian WAS the BOA. He will be sorely missed.”

Paul Shea, who serves as Executive Director of Great American Downtown in Nashua, counted the many ways McCarthy has left his fingerprints on the city.

“Brian’s knowledge, dedication, and contributions to Nashua and to our Downtown were exceptional and an inspiration. Since 1994 Brian served five terms as Ward 5 Alderman, and three terms as Alderman At-Large, and was also the President of the Board of Aldermen. During this time, he has led and been an essential part of many efforts that have made Nashua a better place to live work and play. His contributions are innumerable, if there is something that you have come to love about our city – chances are he made it possible, or made it better. This is a sad and solemn day for our city, and our love goes out to Brian’s family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time,” Shea said.

This is the second such loss this year for Nashua’s governing board — former Ward 1 Alderman Shawn McGuinness, 60,  died April 8 following a lengthy battle with cancer.


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