William F. ‘Willie’ McCafferty

William F. McCafferty

William F. McCafferty

WESTERLO — William F. “Willie” McCafferty was “a gentle soul — kind, caring, compassionate,” said his wife of 30 years, Gaye Bose McCafferty.

He died peacefully at his Westerlo home on Tuesday March 5, 2019. He was 70.

Mr. McCafferty had a dry wit and was a known storyteller. “He took great joy in telling people that he almost died trying to me,” said his wife.

That story was true. Mr. McCafferty worked part-time for C.H. Eaves & Sons in Cobleskill doing farm pickup and bulk milk transportation. One day, the milk was bad at one of the farms so he was driving without the usual weight, his wife said. So when he took a corner he’d taken many times before, the truck rolled over, pinning him.

“He was pinned for 90 minutes. He had seven different fractures … He almost died,” said his wife.

Mr. McCafferty was taken to Bassett Hospital. “I was his nurse,” said Mrs. McCafferty. During his weeks in the hospital, she said, “We were drawn to each other.”

Part of the attraction was a shared wit. “We were each other’s straight man,” she said.

But their relationship had a serious side, too. “He made me a better person,” said Mrs. McCafferty. “He was my hero.”

Mr. McCafferty was born in Catskill on Dec. 31, 1948 to the late Frederick and Elizabeth Lockwood McCafferty. His mother was a housewife and his father ran the family’s dairy farm.

“It was the farm his mom was raised on, the Lockwood Farm,” said Mrs. McCafferty.

Frederick McCafferty also worked as a heavy-equipment operator for the town of Westerlo, running the steam shovel. Later, he worked for Albany County, running a Gradall excavator.

“Willie would run the Gradall with his dad. His dad ran the digging part, the bucket end, and Willie was at the other end,” said Mrs. McCafferty.

Willie McCafferty followed in his father’s footsteps, helping him on the family farm, and also working as a truck driver for Albany County Department of Public Works, retiring after 38 years.

“He was a workaholic,” said his wife. One of the few hobbies he made time for was assembling truck and car models. The McCaffertys home has many shelves filled with his hundreds of very detailed models, his wife said, adding that he also gave away many of his models.

“He was generous,” said his wife. “If someone needed a ride to the doctor, or anything, he was the first one there.”

She went on, “He really touched a lot of people in his own quiet way. He never wanted to be the center of attention.”

His wife concluded, “He was kind-hearted and had a generous spirit.”

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William F. “Willie” McCafferty is survived by his beloved wife of 30 years, Gaye Bose McCafferty; by his sisters, Nancy Latham and Shirley McCafferty; by his father-in-law, Steven Bose; by his nephew, Brant Latham and his wife, Amy; and by his great-nephews, Kyle, Dylan, and Hayden Latham.

His parents, Frederick and Elizabeth Lockwood McCafferty, died before him, as did his mother-in-law, Gail Bose, and his brother-in-law, Henry “Bub” Latham.

Calling hours will be held on Thursday, March 7,  from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. at the A.J. Cunningham Funeral Home, 4898 Route 81, Greenville. A funeral service will be held on Friday, March 8, at 11 a.m. at the funeral home.cremation will be private. Mourners may leave condolences online at ajcunninghamfh.com.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Westerlo Rescue Squad, Post Office Box 12, Westerlo, NY 12193, to the Town of Westerlo Fire Police, Post Office Box 87, Westerlo, or to any animal shelter.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

 

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