Anaconda’s Ed McCarthy was the coolest guy you knew

IMG_1989Word was spread today from his family that Anaconda’s own Ed McCarthy has passed.

In a different time when mailmen could actually come to your front door and hold a conversation or even sit down on the other side of the plank and have a few during their break,he was the guy who made your day better.

Even when he retired from the rigors of his job at the Anaconda Post Office, he regaled anyone who would listen with stories of his time on this earth.

And nobody turned a deaf ear.

He was the kindest human around, and probably the funniest as well. And he needed that humor to cope with the shenanigans associated with the political scenery his wife Bea endured as a democratic Montana State Legislator and Board of Regents member.

In 1965, they began a world-renown St. Patrick’s Day party at their home that grew larger by the year. it started in their living room then spilled out to the streets and alley on Anaconda’s west end. Their final party in 2005 brought tears but also allowed the family to enjoy some special time with one another–even if it was only so Ed wouldn’t have to save a year to replace the contents of his private stash.

The McCarthy’s made the ugliness of political races go away once their doors opened.  Every political party, incumbent or ones seeking office — they all made sure the McCarthy party was on the campaign trail. You see rubbing elbows with the enemy was far easier to do while looking at the history in pictures the couple had gathered in the basement and throughout the home. Plus, a negative review from those at the party may as well have been a death sentence to your chances for election.

I was too young to regularly partake until the 1998 party, when I began working for Roach and Smith Distributors (now Summit Beverage). The beer we would deliver leading up to the event was magical. Tapped kegs in the garage, back patio and basement and making sure Ed’s beer fridges in his sanctuary were full took hours. Even when the party stopped, if Ed’s garage door was open and you didn’t stop he considered it an insult.

When the days beer distributors had to stop direct delivery to non-businesses came, I remember meeting Ed at Town Pump to deliver the cases upon cases of on-sale Rainer to his garage that he purchased. One, because he was such a nice man and two, the payoff in suds and conversation was well worth the time.

Whenever you’d cross paths with Ed during his afternoon touch, he’d greet you like a long-lost family member – even when you had just talked his ear off the day before.

When I was covering Ed’s grandson Triston as a four-year starting quarterback for the Copperheads or a rocket-firing lefty for the A’s, the conversation always stayed on point and positive — even when some of those years produced anything but.

In fact during any one of our discussions, I don’t recall him ever saying a bad word about anyone or anything. How is that possible?

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His appearances in the St. Patrick’s Day parades here in Anaconda lit up the eyes of children throughout the route. He’d distribute bags and bags of assorted candies then put his younger Hibernians to bed at the AOH afterwards.

Simply put, I don’t know if there’s been another ambassador for Anaconda who has brought more kind words to the community. Everyone loved Ed.

His church, Hibernians and Anacondans will all be at a loss, but you can guarantee the sadness will be saturated in joy once the stories start flowing. He was a true gem of a man, and every day of his life was one to be cherished.

Slainte buddy. I’m going to tip some of that frosty Rainier goodness back tonight in memory of a guy who cannot and will not be replaced.