In Memoriam John Joseph Carney, Jr., 90 1932 – 2022

In Memoriam

John Joseph Carney, Jr., 90

1932 – 2022

John Joseph Carney, Jr.

Oneonta – John Joseph Carney, Jr. died Wednesday December 21, 2022 from complications of Covid and dementia after a brief stay at the New York State Veterans’ Home in Oxford. He was 90. 

John grew up in and still held dear Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. He had fond memories of riding the trolley to and from New York City with his parents. He attended City University of New York before enlisting in the Air Force and serving during the Korean War. The Air Force is where he first honed his teaching skills and after his service, he used the GI Bill to attend SUNY Geneseo for his bachelor’s degree. 

It was in Geneseo, working at the Dairy Bar, that he met his future wife and partner, Margaret Kane. She would become Margaret Carney in a small ceremony in Geneseo, and they would be married for more than 60 years. 

After Geneseo, John went on to get his master’s degree from Penn State. He taught briefly at SUNY Potsdam before landing in the Speech and Theater Department at SUNY Oneonta where he quickly became a full professor even before obtaining his PhD. While teaching speech, mass media and communication, John also returned to Penn State to get his PhD and became “Dr. Carney” to thousands of SUCO students throughout his teaching career. While at SUCO, John became active with United University Professions, serving as the local union president for many years, with Margaret as the chapter secretary. He was a strong advocate for a worker’s right to collectively bargain for better working conditions. He was a member of the American Federation of Teachers, New York State United Teachers, and the Tri-County Labor Council, among other organizations. 

John loved the written word as much as the spoken word and will be remembered for his handwritten correspondence as well as for his book collection. He and Margaret opened “Carney Books,” selling used and out-of-print books for decades. Among their fond bookselling memories was setting up their booth at the Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair each year, and selling dozens of boxes of books to Richard Booth, to be shipped to Wales where Booth was in the process of creating the famous “Town of Books,” Hay on Wye.

John specialized in Irish and Irish-American books and authors and because of his Irish specialty, John was once contacted by Hollywood to provide materials for a proposed biopic of Irish writer Brendan Behan. He and Margaret were proud of their Irish roots and loved attending the Oneonta Irish Party every March. They were also fortunate to be able to visit Ireland, as well as Australia, New Zealand and one of their favorite places to find used books, Las Vegas. 

John will also be remembered as a life-long Democrat, active with the local party and serving as an elected Alderman on the Oneonta Common Council for two 4-year terms. He also served on the board of the Greater Oneonta Historical Society and was a supporter of the Hastings Historical Society, as well as supporting non-profit organizations protecting animals and championing social justice issues. 

Though dementia took so much from him, John never lost his love of music, especially big band, swing and of course, Irish music. He never tired of cats and flowers, watching the birds and squirrels at his birdfeeder, drinking iced tea and reading aloud.

John is survived by his wife, Margaret at home; son, John (Debra), Guilford, CT; daughter, Caralee (Maureen), Cooperstown, NY; daughter, Julie, Oneonta; daughter, Christy Hill (David), Wilmington, DE; granddaughters, Kelly Carney, CT and Rafferty Hill, DE; and great-grandson, Liam Braisted-Horton, CT. 

John was predeceased by his parents, John and Julia Carney; his granddaughter, Kaitlin Carney and his cousin, Joan Mansoury. 

As per his wishes, there will be no memorial service.

John was the one who loved to receive flowers so please, in lieu of sending them to his family now, please send some to yourself or someone you think might be sad or lonely. John’s family would be honored if you are able to donate in his memory to a local animal welfare group, local historical society, tree-planting organization, community garden, Irish cultural center or other worthy charity.

Online condolences may be sent to,, the website of Oneonta’s only family owned funeral home, Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono at 51 Dietz Street.

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