San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)
John E. Carey, Jr.
June 15, 1945 - April 23, 2021
Friends and family remember John Carey as larger than life. He was hard to miss in a room—thanks to both his towering stature and his reverberating presence. True to his Irish heritage, John possessed the “gift of gab,” known for his wild stories, incisive wit, and passionate debates. He loved to hold court at the head of the family dinner table and engage strangers in conversation at the grocery store (where he could regularly be found singing or whistling along to the background music). Born in Newport, RI to Dr. John E. Carey and Dorothy Bric Carey, John cultivated a love of the ocean from an early age. Throughout his life, he was most at peace navigating a sailboat—sharing his passion (and encyclopedic knowledge of knots) with family and friends. Although he left Rhode Island in 1964 to attend Georgetown University, he remained a proud Newporter until his final days.
After serving as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, John moved to San Francisco in 1972 and attended UC Hastings College of the Law, where he played on the school’s rugby team and built friendships that would last a lifetime. He then went on to practice as a civil litigator for over 45 years, fueled by a gift for oration and a belief that everyone deserves an advocate. Outside of his successful practice, John was known for his generosity—regularly providing legal guidance to friends, family, and anyone he met who was unable to afford an attorney.
More than anything, John was fiercely loyal to his large, extended family, and will be greatly missed by them, including his wife of 36 years, Sherri (née Gasparini); children Morgan (Derek Schauffler), Shauna, and Brendan; his five siblings Patricia Rowan-Hansson, Michael Carey, Tom Carey, Kate Clifford Chamberlin, and Jane Carey; and more than 20 nieces and nephews. He was also adored and will be missed by his two young grandsons, Grady (7) and Tate (3).
Guided by a belief that all people deserve equal justice under law, John spent his life as a legal advocate and outspoken proponent of civil rights. In this spirit, his family asks that those who wish to honor John’s legacy make donations to the ACLU in his name.