When the Right Reverend Monsignor Henry O'Carroll, V.F., P.R., P.A., died at St. Patrick's Rectory in Newburgh on May 9th, 1957, 88 years of rewarding living, labor in the preisthood, and honors from the world at large came to an end.
One of the are's greatest religious leaders died peacefully 10 minutes before midnight with the Rev. Richard Luedke, his associate at St. Patrick's Church; his personal physician, Dr. James C. Donovan, his sister, Kathleen, and his brothers, Michael and John, at his bedside.
The beloved clergyman died of heart failure as a group of friends were enthusiastically perfecting plans for a huge, non-denominational testimonial to be held in tribute to him on May 25th.
Though failing in health for many years, he had recovered sufficiently to consult to the planning of a testimonial dinner honoring him at Bear Mountain Inn. Governor Averell Harriman and Francis Cardinal Spellman, the spiritual head of the Catholic Church in the New York Archdiocese, had accepted invitations to attend the dinner. Msgr. O'Carroll was so popular that, at that time, only the Bear Mountain Inn could accommodate the many who wanted to honor him.
Msgr. O'Carroll was born in Listowal, County Kerry, Ireland on January 13th, 1869, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John O'Carroll. After studying at St. Michael's and St. Brendan's in Killarney, he completed his education at St. Patrick's Ecclesiastical College in Maymouth, where he was ordained a priest on February 5th, 1893. Immediately after his ordination, he came to America and was appointed assistant pastor at St. Patrick's Church in Newburgh under Dean Penney by Archbishop Corrigan. He adjusted quickly to the American way of life by becoming a sincere and devoted partisan of Newburgh.
He also served under Dean Salley at St. Patrick's prior to being appointed pastor of St. Aloysius Church in Livingston Manor by Cardinal Farley in 1908. He served there for seven years while enjoying the trout fishing offered by the Sullivan County streams.Upon the death of Dean Salley in 1914, he became the pastor of St. Patrick's Church in Newburgh in 1915 after finishing first in a competitive examination. In 1924, he was appointed Dean of Orange and Rockland Counties. Pope Pius XI elevated Fr. O'Carroll toa Private Chamberlain in 1930 with the rank of Very Reverend. Msgr. Michael J. Lavella invested him with the robe of office. It marked the first time that a resident of Newburgh was honored with membership in the Papal Household. He became the Diocese Consultor to Cardinal Hayes in 1934.
From 1900 until his death (even while stationed in Livingston Manor), he was Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus Council #444 that now bears his name. It is said that he rarely missed ameeting.