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JOHN A. CAREY 1920-2012

Posted: May 8, 2012

John A, Carey, a member of the St. Mark’s faculty from 1952-1987, passed away on Friday, May 4, at his home on Cape Cod. He was 91.

For 35 years, Mr. Carey taught Manual Arts and Mechanical (later Technical) Drawing at St. Mark’s, in the basement beyond the old Schoolroom, beneath what was then known as the New Wing.

Born in Saguache, Colorado in 1920, John Carey attended Arizona State, where he played football until the Second World War. After serving in the Air Force, he finished his education at San Jose State, where he met and married Eve Nathanson. Mr. and Mrs. Carey arrived at St. Mark’s in the autumn of 1952. Over the next three-and-a-half decades, the Careys were much-loved members of the School community. Mrs. Carey taught ceramics, while he served in a variety of roles, including teacher, advisor, and coach, as well as heading up the Art Department for a number of years. Many who never took shop or art with Mr. Carey will still remember his enjoyment playing and coaching Fives, and his passionate advocacy for that game at St. Mark’s.

There was a life outside of St. Mark’s as well. He was a founding member of the Framingham Friends Quaker Meeting in the 1960s. In 1964, John and Eve Carey opened Eden Hand Arts on Route 6A in Dennis, MA. Their work, mostly jewelry and pottery, gained recognition and acclaim. John Carey was best known in the field as the designer of the Cape Cod Screwball bracelet.

The Careys retired from St. Mark’s in 1987. Mrs. Carey passed away in 2005. In 2006, John Carey helped to found the Barnstable Friends Quaker Meeting. Along with wherever the creative muse took him, he enjoyed family and friends, playing bridge, crossword puzzles, poetry, and going out to dinner or the theater.

His daughter, Rachel Carey-Harper, said that her father “lived life his own way, fully, with relish and joy.” Generations of St. Markers will always remember that joy, and Mr. Carey’s positive, nurturing approach to life and its lessons.

“John was one of the most caring upbeat people I have ever had the pleasure to know,” said Head of School John Warren ’74. “After a conversation with John, you inevitably felt better about yourself or whatever issue was on your mind. I know that his students greatly enjoyed the way he brought out the best in them.” As Mr. and Mrs. Carey would say to each other before setting out on a trip: “What a marvelous adventure we are on.”

The marvelous adventure that was John Carey’s life has ended, but the legacy of John Carey will continue on in the lives of all he touched, at St. Mark’s School as much as anywhere. “St. Mark’s prides itself on being a warm supportive community that helps its students grow in multiple ways,” continued Mr. Warren. “John Carey has a lot to do with that tradition being so strong.”

Mr. Carey is survived by his daughter, Rachel Ann Carey-Harper and his son-in-law Edward Harper, both of Dennis, MA; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; a sister-in-law; two nieces; a nephew; and many special friends.

The Fall issue of The St. Mark’s Magazine will have a memorial tribute to John Carey. Please send any memorials or remembrances you might have to nicknoble@stmarksschool.org.