A celebration of the life of Brian McGorry, Cranberry Street resident, community activist, and beloved neighbor to many, will be held at the Superfine Restaurant, 126 Front Street in DUMBO, this coming Saturday, March 8, starting at 11:00 a.m.
Mr. McGorry’s death last Thursday was announced with great sadness by Brooklyn Heights Association President Alexandra Bowie at the BHA’s annual meeting that evening. Mr. McGorry had served on the BHA’s Board of Governors, as well as having been active in other civic organizations and efforts. He was a helpful source of information to neighbors, including this blog, about construction and other activities in the area. As our Karl Junkersfeld put it:
Brian was very active in Brooklyn Heights and a friend to all who walk around the North Heights. I assume I am not the only neighborhood resident that appreciated his efforts.
Update: Brian’s family released his official obituary this afternoon:
Brian M. McGorry died of a heart attack while sleeping in his home in Brooklyn Heights on February 27, 2014, at age 64. As beautiful on the inside as he was nurturing on the outside, Brian was born into the extended Bayside, Queens McGorry “Clan.” He was a lifelong resident, builder, and protector of the people, communities and environments of New York City, bringing warmth, compassion and wisdom. Above all, Brian was dedicated to the stewardship, nurturing, and selfless caring for his immediate family, his glorious extended family, his friends and neighbors of all walks of life which were ever expanding. Always the man behind the scenes, turning conflict into resolution and pragmatically knowing and doing what had to be done to make the best outcome for all. He leaves for us all a great hole in the universe.
Brian was a dedicated member of the Brooklyn Heights community for decades. He worked to create Brooklyn Bridge Park, both as a neighborhood activist and as a founding member and operating officer of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. The park and its success was a continuing source of pride and joy to him. Brian’s influence is seen every day at the Brooklyn Waterfront. The Floating Pool which all of Brooklyn enjoys was a favorite of his. His current project has been leading the planning for a skating rink at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. An active member of the Board of Governors of The Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) for many years, Brian was lovingly known as the “tree czar” and according to Judy Stanton, the executive director, “indispensable in all quality of life issues.” Brian was also a member of the Grace Church School Board where he provided enormous stability and was instrumental in the funding, design and restoration of the auditorium. Most of all, for almost three decades, Brian has been unquestionably the “Mayor of Cranberry Street,” administering to citizens, friends and visitors from his office on his front stoop.
Brian was also a founder of Vehicles, Inc., a non-profit organization in Harlem working with motivated people of all ages to enable their success with life and work. Over the years, more than 300 people were enriched by this fine organization.
Brian was a lawyer by training and had an MBA from NYU. He was an executive and counsel for National Distillers Group for many years. Brian was able to utilize his skills, knowledge and nature in subsequent positions in service organizations and in simply helping people.
A warm and wonderful family man, Brian dedicated his life to “his bride” of twenty seven years, Kathy Marshall, and his adored sixteen year old twin daughters Ella and Kate. He loved his brother Mark, sister-in-law Lana, his sister Lenore (who predeceased him) and his bountiful clan of cherished nieces, nephews, cousins, aunt, and friends. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Debra of America, the only national non-profit dedicated to funding research and providing services and programs for those with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)- “The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of.” EB is a genetically based disease characterized by chronic, painful blistering making the skin and mucous membranes so fragile that the slightest touch can cause sometimes lethal blistering inside and outside of the body. No cure currently exists. Donation tributes may be made at debra.org.
The “Celebration of Brian’s Life” will be held at 11 AM Saturday March 8th at SuperFine, 126 Front Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn under the Manhattan Bridge. Listen for the Bagpipes!