James's Story

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James Ray McCarthy Jr, Ph.D., age 72, of Indianapolis, was a brother, husband, father, grandfather, scientist, teacher, mentor, jogger, and friend. He was active in all roles until he passed away on Sept. 12, 2016, surrounded by family. Jim is survived by Sharon McCarthy, his wife of 39 years.
Jim was born Dec. 16, 1943, to James Ray McCarthy, Sr. and Florence McCarthy in New York City. His parents always saw him as an inquisitive angel; his brilliance was evident from a very young age. He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, and from the University of Utah with a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. He entered the pharmaceutical industry, working at Dow Chemical, Merrell Dow and Marion Merrell Dow (1973-1993), Neurocrine Biosciences in San Diego (1994-1999), and Eli Lilly and Company (1999-2009). Jim was also an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry & Chemical Biology at IUPUI from 1979-1986. At Lilly, he was a Distinguished Research Fellow where he participated in the direction of several drug candidates that entered clinical trials. Throughout his career, he made numerous breakthrough contributions to the field of organofluorine chemistry. He discovered two new organofluorine reactions, three new reagents for the introduction of fluorine into organic molecules, and more than 20 new methods for the synthesis and chemical modification of organofluorine compounds. These discoveries are widely utilized to improve the drug-design process. Jims dedication to chemistry and teaching continued in his retirement. He founded the start-up company Avancier Pharmaceuticals, where he worked to optimize synthetic routes of fluorinated drugs. He also rejoined the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology at IUPUI as Research Professor in 2009.
In addition to his passion for chemistry, Jim was also a running aficionado, breakfast chef, and skilled napper. He ran the Indy Half-Marathon twice and took part in numerous 5K runs. Each day for Jim began at 5 am with a 3-5 mile jog and 50 pull-ups. He prided himself on his delicious egg-breakfast, enjoyed hundreds of times by family and friends. After a packed day of work, he is well known for his dinner table naps.
In addition to his beloved wife Sharon, Jim is survived by his sister, Joyce Maw (James); his children, Kevin James McCarthy (Liven), Alicia Marie McCarthy (Ahdy Messiha), Stephen James McCarthy (Sunny Cha), and Ryan James McCarthy (Karine Denoncourt); his daughter-in-law Megan Campbell McCarthy; his grandsons, Abram, Eli and Jacob Messiha; his brothers-in-law, Jim Foulds (Katie) and Steven Foulds (Janice); and his niece, Tess Foulds, and nephews, Luke Foulds, Joseph Foulds and Jason Foulds; along with a host of friends and colleagues. He was preceded in death by his son Cory Allen McCarthy, and his parents.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the James R. McCarthy Scholarship Fund at the IUPUI Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, 402 N Blackford Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202, or to St. Francis In-The-Fields Episcopal Church.
A funeral service was held at St. Francis In-The-Fields Episcopal Church.
Published on October 7, 2016
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