Gerald Joseph “Joe” McCarthy was born on July 4, 1941. It’s unknown if this had something to do with his military service, but nevertheless, McCarthy enlisted into the United States Army around the year 1960. He was stationed in various places around the country, and one of those places was—we can assume—Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. At the Fort, he studied business at the college they have there, called the United States Army Command and General Staff College. He got a master’s degree in business. Here, he also met his future wife, Neala Brown. She, at the time, was studying to be a nurse at St. Luke’s Nursing School. The two met and married in 1961, but it was a secret marriage because Neala’s school did not allow students to marry while attending.1 She graduated in May of 1963, and the two are lost to history for the next 20 or so years.2 Though, we do know that Joe was deployed for the Vietnam War; a valorous service that earned him many awards.
According to Joe’s obituary, from 1980 to 1985 he was stationed with the 7th Army Division at the Headquarters of the US Army in Europe, which is located in Heidelberg, Germany. From 1985 to 1988, Joe was stationed at the Rock Island Arsenal and worked for the US Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM), which is a logistics division of the Army. Here, he served as a Transportation Staff Officer, Transportation Staff Chief, in the Transportation Program Management Office, and as Deputy Director and Acting Director for AMCOM at the Arsenal. When the two could be found again in the newspapers, Neala was working for Marycrest College in Davenport in 1988, the same place she got her master’s degree.3 1988 was also the same year that Joe retired from the Army. After his retirement, he worked for Nomura Enterprises, a financial industry company. In the mid-1990’s, Neala changed jobs to St. Ambrose University where she started the ACCEL Program, a business degree completion program. She was the assistant director of ACCEL.4
Together, they had two daughters: Jennifer and Nora.5 Joe was an avid golfer and was a member of the Rock Island Golf Club. In 2019, Joe died from Parkinson’s disease, which he had been battling for 30 years.6
Joe McCarthy lived up to his patriotic birthday. His 28 years in the United States Army and his many awards shows that very clearly. He was also able to see a bit of the world, an adventure that both he and Neala enjoyed greatly. His wife Neala also had a life of service and impact, from her time as a nurse to her time working at various colleges. Joe was a true American, right from the beginning. He was able to change that title to American hero throughout his amazing and honorable life.