Rev. Charles J. McCoy

(Retired Captain, Chaplain Corps, United States Navy), a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, died Monday November 30, 2009 at Caritas Saint Elizabeth Medical Center.

He was born in South Boston on February 2, 1926, the son of the late Charles J. McCoy, Sr., a city of Boston foreman, and Louise (Mahoney) McCoy. He was the brother of the late Louise M. McCoy.

He entered BC High as a freshman in September 1939 at the school’s old South End campus. Because World War II was underway, the high school curriculum was accelerated, and after 3 ½ years at BC High, McCoy entered Boston College one day before his seventeenth birthday. McCoy was a quarterback on Boston College’s football team in his freshman year, and when the season was over, he entered the Marine Corps as a private and reported to Parris Island for boot camp.

After the war and the completion of his commitment to the Marine Corps, McCoy returned to Boston College to finish his education, majoring in English and Mathematics. Starting in his junior year, he began coaching at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. He continued coaching there while he worked as a teacher in the Boston Public Schools after graduating from Boston College. He later received a Master of Education degree in 1952 from Boston University.

After coaching football for one year at St. Mary’s High School in Waltham, McCoy was recruited to coach football and teach history at BC High in 1952. While at BC High, he decided to enter the priesthood after spending time with the Jesuits at the school. "I thought maybe I could be a priest and help kids out," he said in an interview with the Waltham News Tribune in 1999. "I was still single and had a desire to be like these people I admired." McCoy entered St. John’s Seminary in 1956, and was ordained on his 35th birthday on February 2, 1961.

Following his ordination, McCoy was briefly assigned to parishes in Scituate and Somerville before heading to St. Sebastian’s Country Day School, where he taught and coached football for four years. He then began his 24-year career as a chaplain in the United States Navy, a career which, when totaled with his service in the Marines, totaled nearly 27 years in the service of his country.

During this time, McCoy served in 14 duty stations, including a tour in Vietnam. While there, in addition to celebrating Mass, he would accompany young troops in battle so that he could comfort them. "On the perimeter every night, my job was to let kids know that the priest is just as scared as they were," he said. "It’s good for kids to realize that we don’t carry weapons, we were not there to win a war, we were not there to kill people, but to let them know the people back home thought enough of them to send a priest, a minister, or a rabbi."

In May 1968, while on a patrol boat river mission on the Mekong Delta, McCoy was hit by a B-40 rocket during a battle with the Viet Cong. For his bravery in service, McCoy received a Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart.

Following his discharge from the Navy at the rank of captain, McCoy was assigned as the pastor of St. Philip Neri Parish in Waban, MA. After serving for more than 12 years there, he retired to his family home in Milton at the age of 78. In retirement, he continued to help with Parish of St. Elizabeth in Milton.

McCoy was a member of the BC High Athletics Hall of Fame and was a recipient of the Saint Ignatius Award, the highest award bestowed on a graduate from Boston College High School. Rev. Charles McCoy was 83 years old.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, December 4 at 11 a.m. at the Gate of Heaven Church, 615 East Fourth St., South Boston. His Eminence, Sean Cardinal O’Malley will be the principal celebrant. Fr. McCoy will lie-in-state Thursday, December 3 from 4-8 p.m. in Loyola Chapel at Boston College High School, 150 Morrissey Blvd., Dorchester.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Fr. McCoy may be made to the McCoy Family Scholarship at Boston College High School, 150 Morrissey Blvd., Dorchester, MA 02125.