John Jay McNulty spent his life creating.
The longtime construction company owner built everything from modest condominiums to elaborate mansions across Long Island. McNulty died on March 18 of pancreatic cancer in Bonita Springs, Florida. He was 75.
"He loved seeing something from start to finish," said his wife, Sharon McNulty of Bonita Springs. "He loved the idea of the final finish of a house, and making the people happy."
McNulty, who went by his middle name, was born May 23, 1939, in Huntington and grew up in Greenlawn.
His son, Gary McNulty of Smithtown, said his father had been drawn to construction his entire life.
"He had always been interested in the building industry, right from when he was a young boy out of high school," Gary McNulty said.
Jay McNulty graduated from Huntington High School and Farmingdale State College, where he earned an associate degree in construction technology before enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserves.
He went on to found Clarendon Homes -- named for a street that struck him.
"He liked the sound of that name -- it was a very unique name," Gary McNulty said. The company has built more than 750 homes.
Jay McNulty married his wife in 1968; they had met through mutual friends on the beach in Mount Sinai. The couple had three children and lived for decades in the Village of Nissequogue, where Jay McNulty served as a trustee, among other roles.
He also served on the board of the Knox School, a private school in the village, Sharon McNulty said.
The couple later moved to Florida, where McNulty spent his retirement playing tennis and tending his flower garden.
His wife said McNulty also spent his life quietly helping others.
"If there was someone in need, he would reach out and pay their hospital bills," she said. "My housekeeper needed a new car desperately, and he went and bought it for her. He just was one of those people."
Some of the homes he built were featured in local and national publications, but the publicity always made him a "little embarrassed," Sharon McNulty said.
"He didn't like to brag," she said. "I think he enjoyed the fact that somebody thought his homes looked good."
In addition to his wife and son, McNulty is survived by his daughters, Tracey Alta of Seattle and Heather Haynie of Charlottesville, Virginia; and a grandchild.
Funeral services were held on March 25 in Florida.