Leasing firm chief Francis McCaughey dies

advertisement | advertise on newsday

When 16-year-old Francis X. McCaughey set sail for America from Ireland, he was looking for one thing: opportunity.

McCaughey found it through working odd jobs that eventually led him to a long career in banking and the establishment of his own leasing company in Lake Success.

McCaughey, of Stewart Manor, died on Dec. 7 of liver cancer. He was 70.

McCaughey was born on Jan. 31, 1942, in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland. He left after high school to live with an aunt in New York City and seek his fortune, said his daughter, Mary Beth Griffin, of Garden City.

Griffin said her father performed many odd jobs, including working at a concession stand at Yankee Stadium and a stint as a taxi driver, before landing the job as a bank teller that would make his career.

"He really enjoyed working with customers," Griffin said. "He was always loyal and true to his customers."

Working for what is now called Citibank, McCaughey moved through different branches on Long Island before accepting a corporate position at Citibank financing leasing companies, Griffin said.

McCaughey eventually became the president of his own firm, New World Leasing, based in Lake Success.

He met his wife of 44 years while on a trip to the Jersey shore. The couple lived in Woodside, Queens, before moving to Stewart Manor, Griffin said.

McCaughey also was interested in philanthropic endeavors and was the president of the board of Haven House/Bridges Inc., a Brentwood-based housing nonprofit.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"He really believed in sharing the American dream with other people," Griffin said. "He felt this was a way to give his time and resources to help those people of Long Island."

When not at work, McCaughey enjoyed tending the land around a home he and his wife owned in Montauk, clearing brush and planting gardens with his grandchildren.

He also owned an antique clock collection, dutifully winding them every day, and enjoyed cruises and photography.

In addition to his daughter Mary Beth Griffin, McCaughey is survived by another daughter, Anne Sommerfield, of Garden City; a son, Frank McCaughey, of Forest Hills; brothers Seamus McCaughey, of Brewster, N.Y., and Patrick McCaughey, Sean McCaughey, Eugene McCaughey and Anthony McCaughey, all of Ireland; sister Ann Hart, of Ireland; and seven grandchildren, as well as an extended family, including his aunt, Rosie Donaghey, of the Bronx.

He was predeceased by his wife, Maureen McCaughey; brother Michael McCaughey; and sister Bernadette Cullen.

@Newsday

A funeral was held earlier this month, and McCaughey's body was cremated. Griffin said half of his ashes will be kept with his wife's remains, while the other half will be flown to Ireland.

You also may be interested in: