Obituary Notice – John McCarthy (Originally published in GESeaCo Newsletter of July 2002)

It is with deep sadness that I have to report the death last December of John McCarthy at the age of 76, following a short illness caused by respiratory problems.


John was a hugely influential member of Sea Containers‘ container engineering team from 1979 until his retirement in 1990. He specialised in tank containers, but was quick to extend his knowledge and influence over reefers and the wide range of special containers, too. He lived and breathed engineering, having previously applied himself to it with British Rail, Tate and Lyle and other companies in London‘s east end.


John was assigned to the Purchasing Department in early 1987, when we re-located to the office in Barnet. He headed a newly-formed engineering team whose main functions were the technical aspects of container purchasing — from inspecting and approving factories all over the world to issuing and implementing in full the specifications. John brought to this all his accumulated experience and characteristic enthusiasm, and was always a stimulating colleague with much to contribute. He set the parameters of the role which we have continued to follow ever since. Beyond the call of duty John would often take a  problem home with him in his mind and reappear the next day flushed with enlightenment, having worked it through and beaten it into submission.


I was honoured to be invited to attend his memorial service in January in the Dorset village to which he had retired. It was attended by a goodly number of his family and friends, showing that he had not lost his ability to be at the centre of things. He leaves a devoted widow, Mavis and two daughters, Ann and Julia who are proudly maintaining the family tradition.

 David Aspden