Obituary: Harry McCabe, Lifelong Public Activist

McCabe died Tuesday, March 4.

Harry McCabe. Photo credit: DeVito Funeral Home
Harry McCabe. Photo credit: DeVito Funeral Home
The following is from DeVito Funeral Home.

Harry P. X. McCabe, a resident of Arlington since 1955, passed away peacefully on March 4, 2014.

Beloved husband of the late Catherine Terese "Cay" (Daley) McCabe. Loving father  of Catherine Ann McCabe of Los Angeles, Calif., Maryann Ruehrmund and husband Max III of Rock Hall, Md., and Elizabeth Ann McCabe of East Lynn. Grandfather of Max IV. Brother of Paul and wife Joan of Brookline, Francis X. of Quincy and the late Jack, William, Donald, Elizabeth, Rita, Helen and Margaret. Also survived by sister-in-law Evelyn McCabe of Tewksbury, and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Relatives and friends are invited to visit in The DeVito-O'Donnell Funeral Home 1145 Mass. Ave., ARLINGTON, Tuesday 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. and to a funeral mass Wednesday at 10 a.m. in St. Eulalia Church, Winchester. Interment to follow St. Paul Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Harry's memory to: Arlington Senior Association, 27 Maple St., Arlington, MA 02476, MIT Retirees Undergraduate Scholarship Fund, 77 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139 or The Touchdown Club of Arlington, 1090 Mass. Ave., Arlington, MA 02476.

Mr. McCabe was a member of St. Paul's Parish and a scholastic honors graduate of Mechanic Arts High School, Boston; he enlisted in the U.S. Marines 1st Marine Division (1946-1951) and is a World War II and Korean War veteran.

A 1956 Northeastern University graduate, Harry graduated Summa Cum Laude with an A.S. in Engineering and a B.S. in Business Administration. He was a full member of Northeastern's Sigma Epsilon Rho Business School Fraternity. He was a 51 year employee in M.I.T. Lincoln Lab's Ballistic Missile Defense Technology Division, retiring in 2005. Harry is also a charter member of The National World War II Museum.

A lifelong public activist, Mr. McCabe championed issues to aid the elderly, the poor and the youth of Arlington since the early 1960s. He entered public service as an elected Town Meeting member representing Precinct 21 from 1966-2014. He was Treasurer of W.E.M.B.R.O.C. Community Action Council (1960s-1970s) and brought full-time HEADSTART to Arlington in the 1960s. Harry was director of the Arlington Housing Corporation for 16 years as well as director of the Arlington Boys and Girls Club for 16 years.

He served as chairman of the Arlington Board of Selectman in 1975 and Selectman from 1972-1975. Harry was elected Town Meeting Moderator from 1977-1989. He was the founder of the Arlington Council On Aging (1966-present) and advocated for the creation of a senior citizen center for which a community room has been named in his honor after he obtained a four-year, $200,000 federal grant for senior services. He served for six years as president of the Community Action Council (Arlington's anti-poverty agency). Harry was director of the Arlington Senior Association from 1993-2001. He was a member of the Finance Committee from 1991-1996, the Assisted Living Task Force, 1997-2001, and the Family Self-Sufficiency Program Coordinating Committee also enjoyed Mr. McCabe's membership from 1997-2001. Harry was currently a board member at Minuteman Senior Service Homecare Corp. in Bedford.

Some of the numerous awards that Mr. McCabe received during his lifetime were:
Honorable Discharge, U.S Marines - 1st Marine Division, 1951.
  • 1971- Meritorious Community Service Award presented by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
  • 1978- 2nd Annual George P. "Brud" Faulkner Award for outstanding community leadership presented by The Arlington Jaycees.
  • 1989- Grand Marshall, Arlington's Patriot's Day Parade.
  • Early 1990s- The Commonwealth of Massachusetts DOVE Award nomination.
  • 1992- Town of Arlington CYRUS E. DALLIN AWARD for 30 years of outstanding volunteer contributions that enriched the civic and cultural life of Arlington.
Mr. McCabe enjoyed membership and society in the following organizations:
  • The American Red Cross- Volunteer/Donor
  • Knights Of Columbus, Arlington - Honorary Life Member and Blood Drive Coordinator
  • Arlington Seniors Association, Inc. - Honorary Lifetime Member
  • Touchdown Club of Arlington
  • Irish-American Club, Arlington
  • Irish Cultural Society, Boston MA
  • Disabled American Veterans (Lifetime Member)
  • The American Legion
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Irish-American Cultural Institute, St. Paul MN
  • WGBH
  • MIT, Quarter Century Club
  • AARP
  • Peirce School PTA- Treasurer
  • Mt. Gilboa Neighborhood Improvement Assn., Arlington MA 1956-present
Mr. McCabe would like all to know that: "He tried very hard in all things and he loved his wife and children very much." America The Beautiful was his favorite song and Sirach Ch.3: 2-7 and 12-17, as well as Colossians Ch. 3: 12-25 were important to him and how he lived his life .For directions or to send a condolence, visit devitofuneralhomes.com.
Les Masterson March 05, 2014 at 09:00 AM
Harry was a genuinely nice man and loved Arlington. RIP Harry.
Christopher H. March 10, 2014 at 08:26 PM
He certainly was a very civic minded, hard working man. Very impressive. It is humbling to see all of his accomplishments. A model citizen.
Bob Sprague March 11, 2014 at 08:55 AM
The Harry McCabe I knew was much as described here: http://www.yourarlington.com/home/news/trans/366-people/6465-mcacbe-3714


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