Final salute to a hero

Posted

Born in Brooklyn, Healey attended Brooklyn Prep and St. John's University before joining the military in 1948. He eventually attained the rank of commanding general of the 42nd Infantry Division, a.k.a. the "Rainbow Division," which he held from 1978 to 1983. Along the way he was the regimental commander of the 69th Infantry Regiment (the "Fighting 69th") from 1968 through 1972. Healey retired from military service in 1986.

His success wasn't limited to his military exploits. In his career with the New York Telephone Company, Healey was variously general manager for Queens, director of economic development and general manager of public services. He also did graduate studies at the Brookings Institute and Harvard.

Healey's post-military life was filled with contributions to the community. He served as president of the New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry, chairman of Disaster Services for the Red Cross of Greater New York and a trustee of Molloy College. He took on leadership roles in the National Guard Association of the United States, the Militia Association of New York, the 42nd Infantry Association and the New York Base Redevelopment Corp. He was also an active member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Knights of Columbus.

"He was a fighter right to the end," said Commander Tom Fitzsimmons of the 69th Infantry Veterans Division. "I knew the general for 30 years. He was dedicated to preserving our traditions. Carrying on [those traditions] will be his legacy."

Locally Healey was a member of the Emergency Financial Control Board and the Rockville Centre Mayor's Management Advisory Board. He was grand marshal of this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

"He was a great man," said Rockville Centre Mayor Eugene Murray, a close friend of Healey's. "He was dedicated to his family, his country and the military. He will be missed."

Healey was the husband of the late Claire Irene King, the father of Andrew Healey, Monica Healey, Maureen Cashin, T.J. Healey and Meaghan Healey, and grandfather of Grace, Shane, Michael and Liam.

A full military funeral was held last Saturday at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Center, where Healey was a parishioner. He was buried at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury.

Contributions to honor Healey's life and work can be made to: Sixty-ninth Historical Trust, 96 Jackson Avenue, Rockville Centre, N.Y. 11570.

Decorations and awards earned by Maj. Gen. Joseph Healey

Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Service Ribbon, New York State Conspicuous Service Medal, New York State Medal for Meritorious Service, New York State Military Commendation Medal, New York State Long and Faithful Service Medal, New York State Recruiting Medal, New York State Aid to Civil Authorities, and New York State Exercise Support Ribbon.