The Rev. William McCarthy, the namesake for Quincy’s homeless shelter, died peacefully this morning. He was 82 and had been in failing health for two years. The man known to many simply as “Father Bill” had been in home care at a nephew’s residence in Yarmouth.
The Rev. William McCarthy, the namesake for Quincy’s homeless Father Bill’s Place homeless shelter, died Friday morning. He was 82 and had been in declining health for two years.
“He passed away peacefully,” said John Yazwinski, the current executive director of Father Bill’s Place & Mainspring and a longtime friend.
The man known to many simply as “Father Bill” had been in home care at a nephew’s residence in Yarmouth.
A wake will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at St. John the Baptist Church in Quincy and a funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Thursday at the church. The Rev. McCarthy was pastor there from 1977 to 1995. Burial will be in St. James Cemetery in Haverhill. The Rev McCarthy was born and raised in Haverhill.
Well known to state and national homeless advocates, the Rev. McCarthy had been in declining health since he fell and broke a hip in spring 2007. But until then, he was still making weekly visits from the Cape to the shelter.
The program that grew into Father Bill’s Place started when the Rev. McCarthy opened an emergency shelter in the basement of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church during the winter of 1984.
When the Quincy Interfaith Sheltering Coalition moved the shelter into a former Registry of Motor Vehicles building in 1988, there wasn’t any question that the program would be named for the Rev. McCarthy. For many he’s been known as “Father Bill” ever since.
The Rev. McCarthy has weakened and then rebounded twice in the past few months.
Just two weeks ago, the Rev. McCarthy was making calls to donors and supporters on behalf of the Food Fest, one of the biggest fundraisers for the combined Father Bill’s Place and Mainspring shelters. This year’s event will be held Tuesday at Marina Bay in Quincy.
Lane Lambert may be reached at email@example.com.