Writer | Journalist | Storyteller

David Malcolm McCarty (1942-2022) 

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“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

St. Augustine

As a deeply committed connoisseur of the Irish exit, David Malcolm McCarty performed his final disappearing act on October 19, 2022, as he left us to be with his Lord and Savior. If he knew of his imminent departure, he told no one. As far as everyone knew, the divine banquet had been scheduled to continue for many years to come. It turned out that his Father in Heaven had different plans. Dave was just 80 years old.

The oldest of three boys, Dave was born on March 2, 1942, to Malcolm and Martha McCarty in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, arriving at the height of World War II and just on the heels of the Great Depression. He grew up terrorizing his brothers Larry (deceased) and Newell (74), and the rest of his suburban neighborhood in Oklahoma.

He was part of the first generation of post-war America that watched the country become a world power, when anything was possible, and everything seemed to be within reach. He attended Northwest Classen High School, where he most notably skipped school, drove fast cars, dressed like a dandy, and somehow managed to convince Janet Lynn Johnson (a faculty award winner at Northwest—as he was fond of teasing) that he was worth the trouble.


They both attended Oklahoma University, and were married on June 1, 1962. He graduated in 1964, and went to work for the Fife Corp, which manufactured high-tech equipment for printing presses. After a few years, he left to attend Faith Seminary in Pennsylvania, which later became Biblical Seminary. 

In the summers, he sold Nave’s Topical Bibles, door to door, for the Southwestern Company. He was such a good salesman that he earned enough during three months to support his family for the entire rest of the year while he attended seminary. Eventually, he moved the family to Nashville, where he worked as a regional sales manager. 

He would return to Oklahoma and work again for Fife briefly, before coming back once more to Pennsylvania to work for Biblical Seminary. This was followed by years of working for World Harvest Missions, before finally founding Gospel Friendships, the organization close to his heart, that he ran until his death. 


Somewhere along the way, he managed to help raise six kids, two of whom were adopted: Stacy Lynn Barton, David Todd McCarty, Bradley Scott McCarty, Michael David McCarty, Jason Robert McCarty, and Cicely Lynn McCarty. 

He was the mender of hearts, and the buyer of used cars, a fountain of advice, and a compassionate ear. He was a fast walker and a fast talker, a lover of Doo-Wop and comedy, and a passionate proponent of charcoal-broiled hamburgers. He loved sports, but disliked games. He loved driving fast on open roads, and was always up to run errands for others. He loved pie and Breyer’s vanilla ice cream, fresh sweet corn, and good well water.

He loved a bargain.

Dave and Jan McCarty

He remained married to Janet for 60 years, which is, in and of itself, a pretty incredible accomplishment. They were always a team, high school sweethearts, soulmates, kindred spirits, and loyal partners in life. They were known as Dave and Jan to many, Mom and Dad to a few, and Mimi and Papa to 27 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.

Up until his death, he continued to counsel a wide range of people, from foreign missionaries and pastors, to businessmen and students. He preached a simple message of faith and grace that came from a position of humility as the chief repenter. He loved the Lord with all his mind, body, and spirit, even as he struggled with a world he felt was broken. 

As many who knew him intimately via phone, text, and email can attest, he was not fond of the in-person meeting and rejected the notion that he need be a social animal in order to have meaningful relationships. He spent many hours writing emails and talking to people on the phone. He had a gift for turning any question about himself into a question about you. He was a passionate listener, a fierce advocate, and a loyal friend.


Dave loved to ride his motorcycle, eat in diners and cafeterias, and watch his 4k television in incredible clarity. He adored John Candy, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and anything by the director John Hughes. He quoted Anne of Green Gables and the Bible, comedian James Gregory and the writer Brennan Manning. He was fond of saying, “Oh Marilla, how much you miss.” As a matter of fact, he was fond of saying many things, and his recitation of quotes will live forever in the minds of those he left behind. 

Within his family, he remained a reliable counselor, ready to listen and provide thoughtful advice, but only when asked, as he was a big believer in refraining from dispensing any advice that was unsolicited. He was everyone’s cheerleader and often their biggest fan.

The day before he died, he was enthusiastically cheering on the Philadelphia Phillies, his adopted baseball team, as they continued their push for a world championship. He resisted his competitive nature in many areas of his life, but he loved the triumph of the human spirit and always rooted for the underdog. He loved a good redemption story. He loved to cheer on David in the face of Goliath. 

In the end, he saw himself as the ultimate underdog, unworthy of glory, but triumphant in the acceptance of the gift of grace. In the end, he transcended the earthly bounds of his imperfect body to move to a life in eternity, without pain and suffering, in the presence of his Abba.

He was our champion, after all. 


A memorial service will be held on Nov 1, 2022, 1pm. New Life Presbyterian Church in Dresher. PA. 2015 Limekiln Pike, Dresher, PA 19025. There will be receiving line for those who wish to greet the family starting at 12:15pm. We ask that you keep your comments brief so that all who want to—can.

For those unable to attend service in person, there will also be streamed live on YouTube via https://youtube.com/channel/UCDyyY2Hth3YhZCDor40i0jw, which will also be recorded and can be viewed later. 

About the author

David Todd McCarty

David Todd McCarty is a writer, director, photographer and cinematographer. He writes fiction and nonfiction essays as well as journalism. You can see his commercial work at http://www.hoppingfrogstudios.com

16 comments

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  • Wow! Such an amazing, well-written description of your beloved dad…and wonderful photo journal…Thank you!

  • David and I worked together at Serge from 1984 through 1996, about 12 years. I fondly remember David’s love for the gospel, yelling at people telling them to repent (only David could get away with that) and his working along side of me in so many areas. During some hard days he was a good friend.

  • Dave joined an email group with me and three other women in the mid-’90s, a kind of discipleship support group Becky Long put together. He put up with a lot from us, women processing life – and Dave yelled at first, always pointing us to Jesus. I told your mom he became a voice in my head. He softened over the years, with us and with himself. Johnny Long was eventually allowed in, and our little band appreciates your dad’s presence in our lives. We miss him every day. We counted on his prayers. We enjoyed his humor.

  • Oh my, this is such a wonderful tribute to a man used by God, larger than life. Such a life well lived. My heartfelt wishes go out to your family.

  • Such a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. I think I fell in love with your parents pretty much from the first time I met them. I so enjoyed their visits to Kelowna to visit Jason and his family.
    On most trips, they stayed with me. Dave would always be the first one up and I would enjoy having an early morning conversation with him as I was preparing to go to work.
    He never ceased to amaze me with his wisdom, his opinion on everything and his sense of humour.
    I will always remember him as a very kind and gentle man. He will be sorely missed by the Kelowna McCarty’s and myself.
    So enjoyed seeing the photos that you posted, especially of Dave and Jan in their early life together.

  • What to say? Dave McCarty has been captured not sneaking out after all. He’s remembered so well and who better to do that than a son?

    I don’t exactly recall meeting Dave for the first time. My wife, Michelle helps my ailing recall. What I do remember was being around and then near to Dave at times of great vulnerability. Like moving from my home to becoming a cross-cultural missionary, starting a new mission, raising teenagers, which he had strongly advised against.

    He was first my support raising coach and then friend and mentor since 1995. My story like so many of yours was how the gospel was radically transforming a once joyless, under-the-law believer into a renewed son-much in need of being discipled, coached and mentored.

    Dave McCarty stepped into that breach and NEVER left. He was and will be used by the Spirit of God to continue that transformation. I’m still serving here in Ireland some 23 years on using much if not all of what his vision for gospel transformation was as it was being reformed itself in him.

    As a gifted writer he so wonderfully unpacked the things that REALLY matter with not a lot changing in terms of the gospel content of his publications, but what I think most profoundly changed was that he grew more fearless in is his emphasis on ‘weakness in ministry’. This is deeply personal for us. He was fond of saying that if you could show him someone who was CONFIDENT/STRONG/INDEPENDENT they KNEW best about anything, then he could show you someone who was full of stress (worry, anxiety, frustrated, or bored).

    So, I can hear him now as we grieve together maybe saying something like, “Don’t be afraid to observe your life. You can’t screw it up. He’s our Great sovereign who’s 100% in charge. Confess it all. AbbaDaddy will meet you and help you eventually and in His timing bring Grace to your soul and make all things new.”

    Speaking for the Irish, I’m glad you went out the way you did, Dave. Am I disappointed? Yes. Do I feel cheated not to have full access to the Chief speaker-into-my-life? Absolutely! I’ve got an email you still need to reply to! The loss is immense and we’re all gonna miss you, Dave.

    Gonna miss the tone of your voice. Your laughter and your UNRELENTING care for your soul that I would hope to have a portion of. Thank you for teaching me to see that life is confession and to be like the prostitute in Luke 7 ‘who loved much because she was forgiven Much’ is the only life worth living.

    Raising a glass of Guinness for your Irish wake across the Atlantic

    Chuck and Michelle Tarter

  • Dearest Janet, what a beautiful tribute to your beloved ! I have such fond memories of the times we were together – you two such special and loving in-laws to my Paige! Larry was always my third blessed son rather than son-in law ! My deepest sympathy to you and yours and so much love. We will all meet again in our eternal home worshipping our LORD JESUS CHRIST ! To Him be the glory for the great things He did in your David’s life!
    Joanne Weaver

  • What a thoughtful tribute! Dave kept hammering home a few basic messages, but often his email would be just what I needed to be reminded of at that time. My condolences to all the family. May the peace of God be with you, and may you find joy in knowing that Dave is with Jesus.

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