Howard McCarthy, 87: ‘The Old Lamplighter,’ who saw life as a series of victories

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MANCHESTER, NHHoward McCarthy died Oct. 8 after a long illness that failed to diminish his spirit.

Summing up a life in a few paragraphs is not possible but understanding the core of a life with just a simple story may be. In the mid 1940s Howard competed in a doubles golf tournament against a rival town. He had to skip school to do it, and was met on the course by his Peabody High School principal, who upon learning that the opponent was Salem, quietly encouraged them to “kick their butt.” Howard’s side lost that day 3 to 1. The next day the newspaper lauded the Salem victory  3 to 1.

Howard only saw the “1.” it was his score, and as he stared closely at the headline, the “1” just grew larger and larger, eclipsing the 3. It was his victory. That was how he saw life, as a series of victories.

He was born the day after Christmas in 1927 in Peabody, Mass. and served in the U.S Navy. After WWII he got a job and built a home in New Hampshire, buried a loyal dog, married and divorced – all the things that life puts in front of us. There’s so much more, but to list them would miss the point of his lesson: That he took a great trip through life and now it’s over. But he smiled all the way.

Howard is survived by his sister, Mary Calder of NH; sister-in-law Theresa McCarthy of Peabody; and his former wife, Charlotte Charest of Port Orange, Florida. He was predeceased by his siblings, Rita Gaudette, Leo McCarthy and John McCarthy. Also, he is survived by many nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be at a later date. View an on-air tribute Oct. 11 between 4-6 p.m. on Manchester Public TV.

About Carol Robidoux 5785 Articles
Journalist and editor of, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.