Dr. Gerard McCarthy passed away on August 23, 2018.
Dr. Gerard McCarthy was predeceased by his sister Pauline, and his brother Sean. He is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Marie; his daughters, Rachel (Jan) and Fiona; son Brendan (Megan); his grandchildren, Kyra, Seamus, Nola and Declan; his brothers, Danny (Mary) and Canice (Sally); and his many nieces and nephews.
Gerry was born in the small village of Portaferry, County Down, Northern Ireland. He was named by his mother Jane and father William after Saint Gerard the Patron Saint of Motherhood and Childbirth. He was sent early to school at the age of three in order to help his older brother Sean who had physical disabilities. At the age of 10, by himself, he went to boarding school at St. Malachy’s College, Belfast where the loneliness he experienced shaped how he cherished his family and friends throughout his life. During this time, he loved both playing and watching sports including basketball, hurling and other gaelic sports. The reading of literature was not encouraged at school which he disagreed with later in life and he became an avid reader of all types of literature from Irish poets to history, politics and religion. His many bookshelves overfilled with books attest to his love of reading.
He went to Queen’s University, Belfast initially as a Sciences student but at the urging of his sister Pauline transferred to Medicine. In medicine he found a true passion and purpose. He graduated from the School of Medicine in 1964. He worked as a houseman and Registrar at the Mater Hospital in Belfast and found his gift in Obstetrics. He completed his exams in Obstetrics in 1969. During this time, at one of the many Nurse and Registrar dances he met the true love of his life, Marie Gavin, who was also a nurse at the Mater Hospital. They married in 1969 and for 49 years of marriage she always took care of him and he always took care of her. Marie contributed to their success by ensuring his family and home were well looked after. In 1970, he worked in Ballymena, County Antrim where his two daughters, Rachel and Fiona, were born.
Due to a lack of jobs for obstetricians he then emigrated from Northern Ireland to Canada at the urging of Dr. Rolston. Dr. McCarthy and his family moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba and after a few months of internship completed his Canadian Medical exams and went into practice at the Mall Medical Clinic. His son, Brendan was born in 1974 in Winnipeg. His Obstetrical career was committed to ensuring the best possible care for all of his patients. He was deeply committed to the care of the Northern Medical Communities which he visited for his entire career. ‘Up North’ he would take helicopters, boats, skidoo’s and hovercrafts to see his patients at the nursing stations. He felt a kinship with these communities from his experiences in Northern Ireland and understood the many obstacles his patients had in their lives. He treated his patients like family and had an uncanny ability to remember the names and children of all the generations of patients he delivered. He provided his patients with his personal cellphone number and he would answer their questions at any time of the night. He was more than a doctor to many of his patients – he provided a safe place and was a friend, consoler and social worker. Dr. McCarthy was, to be modest, an excellent obstetrician. He had a sixth sense when it came to childbirth and was famously known for his skills with the Kielland forceps. His skills in labour and delivery are legendary in Manitoba. The number of woman and children he ensured were safely delivered is a testament to his skills and his stamina. He could be anywhere and have a woman come to him with their, now older child, still thanking him for what he had done years earlier. Dr. McCarthy’s legacy in obstetrics in Manitoba will be ensured by not only the patients he took care of but by all the obstetricians he taught and mentored over the 47 years he worked.
While Gerry left Ireland physically he never left his hometown Portaferry emotionally. He was unmistakably Irish and would quote Irish poetry and history and read the Irish times newspaper to be up to date on all things going on in Ireland. He fondly remembered all the characters and people he knew there and would always go back to Ireland whenever he could to see his friends and family. Many people considered Gerry a friend and he loved his friends dearly. He might be late because he was delivering a baby, but he always tried to arrive to friends’ events to show his support and friendship. If someone was in the hospital or if someone had passed away he would want to immediately visit to show support. ‘Bubba’, as he was affectionately known as by his grandchildren, loved his family immensely. He told his wife Marie that he loved her many times a day. He was very proud of his children and grandchildren.