Ireland native John C. McCrudden served in World War II and later immigrated to New York City with little money, but a strong resolve to provide a bright future for his family.
That characteristic marked his life as a dedicated husband and father of eight children, who were raised mostly in Kings Park, family said.
McCrudden died March 31 of pulmonary complications in hospice in Fountain Hills, Ariz., relatives said. He was 91.
McCrudden's son Kevin McCrudden described him as a "loving" father who exemplified perseverance.
"He went from someone who had a junior high school-level education . . . overcame an environment of not having much, coming to America . . . and making sure all of his children got a college education," said Kevin McCrudden, 50, of Smithtown.
His father was born Dec. 24, 1922, in Letterkenny, Ireland, to parents who were a farmer and a nurse. He had 11 brothers and sisters, and after attending school until about age 14, worked odd jobs to support the family farm.
At 19, McCrudden joined the British Royal Air Force and served as a truck driver, delivering whatever was needed to the front lines after Normandy.
Though wounded in Antwerp, Belgium, McCrudden assisted in The Battle of the Bulge, his family said. "He and one of his childhood friends were working together," said Kevin McCrudden. "They were exposed to gunfire . . . When he turned, and they started to run, his buddy was already dead."
After the war, John McCrudden married his wife, Susan "Violet" Logue, in Ireland in the 1940s.
In 1953, McCrudden moved to New York City and worked in construction, and as a groomsman for thoroughbred racehorse trainer James "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons, the family said.
His wife and children joined McCrudden in 1954, and settled in Kings Park, where he worked as a custodial supervisor at Ralph J. Osgood Intermediate School, and helped establish a soccer team for his sons. Four went on to become professional soccer players and one a boxer.
McCrudden's daughter Mary Eisenstein, 64, of Mattituck, said he was a skilled storyteller who sang at family functions, adding, "There was a poetic nature to the story, which then would have been reflected in the beautiful Irish tenor voice he had."
His niece, Siobhan Gallagher, 51, of Belfast described McCrudden as an example for family members in Ireland.
"He came home to Ireland regularly, and for us, he was like the person who lived the American dream," said Gallagher. "He told everybody to look for good things in life, and [that] most importantly was family."
McCrudden's wife died in 1996. Survivors, in addition to his children Mary and Kevin, include his sons, William McCrudden, 63, of Waterloo, N.Y.; John McCrudden, 62, of Fountain Hills, Ariz.; Vincent McCrudden, 53, of Long Island City, Queens; Daniel McCrudden, 58, of Chicago; daughters, Kathy Warszycki, 61, of Kings Park; and Karen McCrudden, 50, of Fountain Hills, Ariz.; brothers, Jack McCrudden, 87, of Derry, Northern Ireland; Paddy McCrudden, 73, of Buncrana, Ireland; sister, Carmel McCrudden, 83, of Carndonagh, Ireland; 11 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held Monday from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. at Grant Funeral Home, 3640 Rte. 112, Coram. A private burial service will be held Tuesday at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram. The family requests that comments be made on McCrudden's Legacy.com page.