Matthew Carolan, a professor and conservative columnist whose work appeared in Newsday and other publications, died Sunday in West Islip at Our Lady of Consolation Nursing & Rehabilitative Care Center. He was 50.
His death, from brain cancer, was confirmed by a brother, Brian Carolan of Seaford.
Matthew Carolan, a West Babylon resident, was executive editor of the National Review, a conservative opinion journal, from 1994 to 1999. Along with a friend, Raymond J. Keating, Carolan wrote hundreds of opinion pieces for Newsday from 1996 to 2002, on subjects as complex as health care reform and as seemingly lighthearted as golf, a sport Keating introduced to Carolan shortly after the two met in sophomore year of St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip.
For Keating, an economist, and Carolan, who received master's degrees in theology from St. John's University and in philosophy from Fordham University, a day on the links was never just about the game, but an occasion for thinking, debate and declaiming.
A column on the 2002 U.S. Open at the Bethpage State Park Black Course, for instance, considered golfer Sergio Garcia's short game before taking on its true subject: the tournament as metaphor for free-market meritocracy. "The U.S. Open is everything that government -- with its political spin, emphasis on cutting deals, lack of performance, shameless appeals to fairness and emotion, and tendency to reward failure -- is not," the two wrote.
Theirs was a conservatism that did not always respect party lines. In another column that year they accused New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican who was days away from retirement and beloved by many for his leadership after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, of "stunning economic ignorance" or "shameful political deception" for his role in taxpayer subsidies for ballparks for the Mets and Yankees.
The columns included an email address for reader response, which was ample and often vehement. For Carolan, a lifelong Catholic whose writing was informed by his faith, both support and condemnation suggested he was doing the job right. "He would say even Daniel walked in the lion's den," Brian Carolan recalled. "It was a way to reach people who needed a different viewpoint."
Matthew Carolan's career included stints teaching business ethics at Molloy College, cut short by illness, and the humanities at Suffolk County Community College, where he taught until recently. He also coached Little League in North Babylon.
Born in Queens to Marguerite Carolan, a homemaker, and Gerald Carolan, a New York City firefighter, he was reared in Seaford.
Besides his brother, Carolan is survived by his wife, Stacy, whom he met at St. John's and married in 1997, and their children, Connor, Kevin, Hope and Emma; sisters Ann Carolan of Babylon, Mary Yeager and Claire Arcuri, both of Wantagh, Susan Webber of Oakdale and Margaret Carolan of Seaford; and another brother, Michael Carolan of East Islip.
A wake will be held at William E. Law Funeral home, 1 Jerusalem Ave., Massapequa, Tuesday from 7 to 9 and Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral mass will be celebrated at 10:45 a.m. Thursday at Maria Regina Roman Catholic Church, 3945 Jerusalem Ave., Seaford.