November 25, 1931 - February 23, 2022
John Watson Carswell, 90, of Slingerlands, NY, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, New York. For the past 23 years, he was the beloved husband of Helen (O’Hanlon) Carswell. John was predeceased by his parents Watson Golder Carswell and Mary (Moore), his first wife of 37 years, Elaine (Kirby), his sister Catherine (Kay) Trotter (Hale), and sister-in-law, Mary Schuh (Ed). Born in Ticonderoga, New York in 1931, John grew up in Glens Falls. He graduated from Glens Falls High School in 1949, received his BA at the University of Vermont in 1953, and earned his Master’s Degree in Social Work at Boston College. He and his first wife Elaine (Kirby) met in Lake George and soon married in 1959. They initially resided in Waterbury, CT where John was employed. He and Elaine moved back to New York when John accepted a position at the Albany Home for Children in the early 1960s- which later became Parsons Child and Family Center. John and Elaine had five children and lived in both Albany and Delmar. For many years, the family resided on Academy Road in Albany. In 1979, John was appointed Executive Director. During his 16-year tenure as Executive Director of Parsons (1979-1995), John was a particularly effective combination of social services visionary and practical builder. He redefined both the agency’s mission and business plan, transitioning it from an orphanage-oriented organization into a modern multi-services center dedicated to helping children grow. He identified and advanced new therapeutic approaches and, he secured the private and government funding necessary to bridge the gap between vision and reality. Under John’s leadership, Parsons developed a large therapeutic foster care and adoption program, community-based services designed to preclude the need for institutional care, and day treatment delivered within a large special education school. In 1982 he oversaw the merger of the Albany Child Guidance Clinic into Parsons, an action that underscored his foresight and creativity. The Clinic’s Office of Mental Health license made possible, over the next 40 years, the subsequent design and implementation by Parsons of the wide range of mental health residential services, community-based clinics, and crisis-outreach programs that the agency now operates throughout eastern and central New York State. John’s creativity and administrative competence were recognized regionally and nationally, and after his retirement, he served for many years as a peer review team leader for the Council on Accreditation, an influential review body operating across America and Canada. John was a member of the Rotary Club of Albany where he served in various leadership positions. He was also actively involved in the parents’ associations at The Albany Academy for Girls and Christian Brothers Academy. John, Elaine & their friends volunteered at CBA’s BINGO nights until the last of the group's children graduated. His favorite pastime with Elaine included traveling to Aruba with their dear friends the Allegrettis and to Cape Cod for summers with their kids. He loved playing cards, tennis and he was an expert downhill skier, racing for several clubs until his early 30s. He instilled in his children a deep love of skiing. After Elaine passed away in 1997 John started a new chapter in his life with his wife Helen (O’Hanlon). Both widows, their families became what many would say could fill an Irish county. Helen and John traveled extensively- to India, China, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and their beloved Ireland- just to name a few countries. Along the way, they danced and Helen shared with John her love of Irish set dancing. They were longtime members of the Capital District Set Dancers. John and Helen were very active in the Capital District Irish American Association (CDIAA). John’s heart and soul were with the CDIAA. He worked tirelessly to provide cultural and educational programs at the Albany Hibernian Hall and he spearheaded the CDIAA membership program for years. He was always coming up with new ideas and loved being surrounded by his extended family and many friends at hall functions. As he grew older, his favorite pastimes with Helen were golf, playing cards, large family dinners & big holiday celebrations. John especially enjoyed playing the card game 31 with his and Helen’s grandchildren. He loved the game Mexican Train, watching Turner Classic Movies, and sipping coffee milkshakes with Helen. They loved an afternoon drive to anywhere. He enjoyed visits with dear friends Joe Allegretti, Rita O’Sullivan, and Lenny & Janet Clickman. The family would like to thank the Clickmans for being neighbors in the truest sense of the word. John was a faithful member of St. Teresa Parish and Mater Christi Parish. John was the loving father of five children, James Carswell (Kathleen) of Saratoga Springs, Sue Carswell of New York City, William Carswell (Ann Marie) of Delmar, Amanda Smith (Philip) of Peabody, MA, and Sarah Heffernan (Walter) of Dorchester, MA. A dear uncle/2nd father to Laurel Colasurdo of Waterford. Cherished grandfather to Catherine, Allison and William Carswell, MaryBeth Carswell (Nick), Margaret Pohl (Mike), Megan Singleton (Matt), John, Madeline, and Mae Carswell, Matthew and James Smith, Kirby, Henry, and Lucille Heffernan. Uncle to Stephen (Rachel) Pallrand and Nannette Pallrand, both of Los Angeles, CA, and great uncle to Chelsea (Joe) Mazzariello of Troy. John is also lovingly survived by Helen’s five children Maureen Pease (Glenn), Timothy O’Hanlon (Laurie), Ellen Morreale (Carmine), Cynthia Herubin (Charles) and Eugene O’ Hanlon, Helen’s brother Geoffrey O’Hanlon, Helen’s grandchildren Alison (Brendan) Woods, Brendan Pease, Devin O’Hanlon (Lauren), Deirdre O’Hanlon, Alanna Kauffmann (Todd), Michael Morreale (Brittany), Conor Morreale, Nicholas and Clare Herubin, Eugene and Nora O’Hanlon and three great-grandchildren. Relatives and friends are invited to visit with John’s family Sunday, February 27, 2022 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at McVeigh Funeral Home, 208 North Allen Street, Albany, NY 12206. Please enter the funeral home from the rear parking lot entrance only. Unvaccinated individuals must wear a mask and practice social distancing. Funeral services Monday, February 28, 2022 at 12:00 pm at the Parish of Mater Christi, Albany, NY where his Funeral Mass will be celebrated. The Mass may be viewed at YouTube.com/C.ParishofMaterChristi The Rite of Committal will be held at St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands, NY immediately following the Funeral Mass. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of John W. Carswell may be made to either CDIAA , 375 Ontario Street , Albany NY 12208 or Northern Rivers Family of Services , ℅ Development, PO 8899, Albany, NY 12208.
John Watson Carswell, 90, of Slingerlands, NY, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, New York. For the past 23 years, he was the beloved husband of Helen (O’Hanlon) Carswell. John... View Obituary & Service Information
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