Bill McCarthy

July 7, 1956 - May 15, 2017
Bill McCarthy

William J. McCarthy III left this world on Monday, May 15, 2017, after his courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

Bill was born on July 7, 1956, in Youngstown, OH, the son of William Joseph Jr., and Phyllis Stratford McCarthy. Bill received his doctorate degree from Boston University and was an Associate Professor in the History Department at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Bill was an avid traveler. Portugal, Paris, Hawaii, and Bali were among his favorite destinations. He loved traveling with friends and students and meeting people along the way. He never failed to bring back mementos of his travels for his loved ones. He was cherished and admired by all. His wit, charisma, and style will carry on in everyone’s memory.

Survivors, in addition to his parents, include: wife, Donna Diebold McCarthy, and sons, Jordan and Rowan McCarthy; sisters, Kathleen McCarthy and husband Craig Perry; Karen Kus and husband Don; Colleen Doyle and husband Andy; brother, Patrick McCarthy and wife Patricia Verstreken; nieces, Emily and Kate Kus, and Marion McCarthy; nephews, Patrick and Jackson Doyle, and Noah McCarthy. He is survived as well by many special aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Memorial 11:30 AM Thursday May 18, 2017 St. Jude Metropolitan Community Church 19 N. 26th Street Wilmington, NC.

The family requests that memorial contributions be made to National Public Radio.

Please share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Post a Condolence” tab below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation, 1535 S.41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403. 910.791.9099.


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  • May 17, 2017
    Elisabeth Garner says:
    As a graduate of the history department at UNC-Wilmington, I was fortunate enough to have met Dr. McCarthy, my sincere condolences at this time for his family. Very saddened to hear this news.

  • January 15, 2022
    Jewel Ubben Gray Shervanick says:
    I came across a Christmas card from Bill, Donna, Jordan and Rowan, dated December 1994. I looked them up and found Bill's obituary. I knew him from Boston University days. He was one of the most gregarious, energetic, and generous friends I've ever had. You can tell he was memorable! I remember him waiting for an overdue check he was owed when he was a political aide. When it arrived, he and Donna took me out to a fabulous Thai restaurant in Boston. I can still see the Beetle! So grateful! Interestingly, my husband died of pancreatic cancer in 2001. So hard.

  • June 02, 2017
    Riley says:
    I just received the news of Dr. McCarthy's passing via UNCW email. I am incredibly saddened by his passing, and wish you knew the impact he had on me as a student. With only having him as my professor once, he shed light on me in a way I cannot explain. I without a doubt contribute his influence to my minoring in women and gender studies... his class, along with his brilliance and unforgettable personality, allowed me to feel like I was exactly where I should be in life for the first time in a long time. I will remember him and his impact on me for years to come, and I am so very sorry for your loss.

  • May 23, 2017
    Eve Moriarty says:
    William (for some reason none of us in Swansea ever called him Bill!) was the most vivacious, lively, charismatic man; everything about him had flair. We were incredibly lucky to be one of the ports he stopped in on his life's voyage. His humour and warmth will stay us over here in rainy Wales.

  • May 22, 2017
    Deborah Brunson says:
    Bill was a kind and considerate person and a wonderful colleague. My deepest condolences to his family.