Posted December 27, 2016
By Bridget Downes [LI Herald Newspapers]
Raymond G. McCann, a former New York City firefighter and president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians Nassau County Board, died on Dec. 11 following complications from a surgical procedure. He was 79.
McCann was born in Belle Harbor, Queens, and lived most of his early days in the Rockaways, where he attended St. Francis de Sales and Far Rockaway High School. He married his wife, Elaine, and raised his two daughters there.
McCann worked as a truck driver for Pepsi Cola and later became a firefighter, where he spent most of his career at Ladder 40 in Harlem. Throughout his life, McCann was honored with many awards, including the James Gordon Bennett Medal, the Dr. Harry M. Archer Medal and the Ward LaFrance Fire Industry Award for Heroism. He was also a member of the Honor Legion and the Emerald Society of the FDNY.
After he retired, McCann became an independent contractor and built tables and bars for pubs and restaurants. He also spent much of his time volunteering with the AOH St. Brendan the Navigator Division 17 in Long Beach. He was active in raising money for good causes and organizing the annual St. Brendan the Navigator Irish Heritage Day Parade and Festival in Long Beach.
McCann also served as the chairman of the Nassau County Feis, an Irish festival. He was the grand marshal of the parade as well as an aide to the grand marshal in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
During the summer, McCann enjoyed fishing trips on his boat or in Key West, Fla. In the winter, he liked to ski.
“He was a humble man, a great father and a Hibernian stalwart,” said Bill Peyton, current president of the AOH Division 17.
“Ray was a decorated veteran of the FDNY winning the two highest medals of valor in the department. I think if he were here today he would just kind of wave that off and not draw attention to himself. His accomplishments were not known to many of his friends. He just wasn’t the type of guy to sit around and tell war stories. He will be remembered for his service, and kindness, but mostly for his humility.”
A funeral mass was held last Saturday at the Island Park Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church.
McCann is survived by his daughters, Susan O’Neill and Dianne Bolsch, and their husbands, Billy and Larry, respectively. He is also survived by his sister, Mary Ellen Green and her husband, Ron, and his beloved grandchildren Christopher, Peter, Eric, Kelly and Heather.