Friends remember James Edward Mulcahy as valued community member

By Shelby Ashline

(James Edward Mulcahy/
(James Edward Mulcahy/

The University of Massachusetts lost a valued and longtime member of its community on March 18 with the unexpected death of James Edward Mulcahy, 76, of Holyoke.

A UMass alumnus, Mulcahy studied arboriculture, turf grass management and entomology at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Even after his graduation in 1960, he continued to be actively involved in the development of UMass until his death.

In particular, Mulcahy focused much of his energy on Stockbridge and its academic, service and social fraternity Alpha Tau Gamma. He served as treasurer of ATG for 45 years, overseeing the management and maintenance of their property. Mulcahy had also recently become secretary, according to his close friend and fellow fraternity member, Gary Shepherd.

Shepherd first met Mulcahy when he was freshman at Stockbridge in the fall of 1983. The two connected through their mutual involvement in Stockbridge and ATG.

“(ATG) was truly where his heart and soul was,” Shepherd said of Mulcahy in a phone interview.

Shepherd went on to explain that it was under Mulcahy’s leadership that ATG donated over $1 million to the School of Agriculture. The money was used to endow a chair – the ATG Fred Jeffrey Stockbridge School director chair – to direct Stockbridge.

Mulcahy also developed the James Underwood Crockett Agricultural Technology Growth Fund. According to Shepherd, the fund has supplied about $233,000 in grants since its creation in 1983. The money supports agricultural instruction, endeavors, research and Stockbridge’s off-campus extensions.

In addition, Mulcahy coordinated the installation and maintenance of local gardens with the help of other ATG members. These include the Massachusetts Highway Department Visibility Site, located on Route 116 near UMass’ west entrance and the Francis E. Hart Memorial Garden at the Amherst Police Station.

Shepherd spoke of what an impact Mulcahy’s life and death has had on the members of Stockbridge and ATG.

“He was just an awesome guy,” Shepherd said. “He’s going to be missed by ATG and Stockbridge. It’s not often you find someone that’s willing to devote so much time from their life to helping these organizations.”

However, Mulcahy’s contributions extend outside of Stockbridge and ATG. He was also an overseer of the Newman Center for 55 years and co-founder of the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame. He later served on the Hall of Fame’s selection committee.

Mulcahy’s funeral mass was held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 28 at the Newman Center. According to Glenroy Buchanan, who was a close friend of Mulcahy’s for about 30 years, people came from as far away as California to attend the funeral.

“He’ll be missed, not only by me, but by the hundreds of other people that knew him,” Buchanan said.

Memorial contributions may be made to the James Underwood Crockett Fund, c/o Bank of America, U.S. Trust at 100 Westminster St., P.O. Box R.I. 1-536-05-03, Providence, R.I. 02901.

Shelby Ashline can be reached at [email protected]