When Judd McCarthy, one of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church's most beloved members, turns 100 on June 5, he will celebrate a life well lived. With his sharp mind, his Irish grin and his ready laugh, Judd approaches the century mark still enjoying life.
Good Shepherd parishioners love to tell stories about Judd. They remember that he was a champion golfer who, until he had to retire from the game at age 94, could always “shoot his age.” (For non-golfers, that meant that at age 85, for example, he could shoot a respectable score of 85.) Before his stroke six years ago, Judd was active in the Chatuge Shores Men's Golf Association. When he turned 90 he was made an honorary lifetime member.
Friends from Good Shepherd also remember how Judd returned from a trip to Ireland with the church's rector and showed up at church dressed like a leprechaun. Until just a few years ago, he baked loaves of bread to welcome newcomers to the church. One parishioner remembers laughingly how Judd, at a party where the server was pouring him a drink, told her, “Keep on going, keep on going.” When she asked what he meant, Judd said, “I drink only one whiskey a night, so I want it to be a big one!"
Judd has kept his zest for life despite bumps along the way . He reminisces about losing his mother when he was only five, and his family keeping him out of school until he was seven. After he graduated from high school in Pennsylvania in the middle of the Depression, he worked in a department store and a zipper factory. For nine months he traveled all over South America on an educational trip, sending letters and souvenirs back to American school children so that they could learn about South America. Eventually he settled into a job with American Sterilizer, doing some engineering and sales of operating room equipment that required him to move 20 times. Each time his job required a move, he had to uproot his dear wife Kay and their two daughters. Kay always found work as a secretary.
Tired of so much moving, Judd transplanted his family to Florida in 1971 and worked for himself. When Vero Beach got crowded and summers too hot, the McCarthys tried renting in Shooting Creek. That's when they joined Good Shepherd. Eventually Judd built his own home on top of a mountain, where he and Kay still live and where they recently celebrated 75 years of marriage.
Judd's mind is still quick, and when asked how he's kept it that way, he says with a grin and a twinkle in his eyes, ”I have a Jameson's Irish whiskey every day at five o'clock!” Though he has known some hard times in his life, Judd says, “I am blessed.” He has expressed the desire to be remembered as “a good man,” and when his friends at Good Shepherd sign a card for his 100th birthday, that's just what they will be thinking about Judd.