Joseph Michael McCarthy

December 31, 1935 ~ November 2, 2020 (age 84)


 Joseph Michael McCarthy, 84, of Wayzata, MN passed away peacefully in the arms

of his loving family on November 2, 2020.


Joe was proud of his family, his Irish heritage and Cincinnati, where he was born on New Year's Eve, 1935, the only child of Alma Elizabeth Dempsey and Joseph Lawrence McCarthy.


He is survived by wife Lynn and their children,Teresa (Steve Hanson); Brian (Jennifer); Patrick and grandchildren Maura, Ronan, Luke, Ciera, Quinn, Joseph, Conor and Molly.

He also leaves behind his faithful furry friends, Marci and Hercules.


Joe earned his bachelor's degree in history and master's in political science from Xavier University, whose Jesuit influence remained with him throughout his life.


After teaching high school history, he married his college sweetheart Phyllis (Lynn) Hotopp in 1958 in Mt. Washington, OH and began active military duty at the US Army Air Defense Center in El Paso, TX.  He achieved the rank of Major and received the highest peacetime commendation for outstanding service to his unit.


Joe then held corporate communications positions at Mead Johnson, Eli Lilly, and Pillsbury before joining Dayton Hudson, where he directed corporate communications  during a period of dynamic expansion that included the company's debut on the New York Stock Exchange, its shopping center expansions and the beginning of its evolution as Target Corporation.


In 1970 he launched his own Minneapolis based public relations/public affairs company, Northstar Counselors, Inc.  In l974 he expanded his firm's reach as a founding partner and chairman of Pinnacle Worldwide, Inc, an international organization of 72 leading independent public relations and marketing communications firms in the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific.  With his wife serving as Pinnacle's executive director, they traveled extensively and made friends around the world.


A resident and active citizen of Wayzata since 1967, Joe served terms on the Wayzata City Council, Planning Commission and Heritage Preservation Board.  He also served on the boards of Courage Center, Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners, The International Hearing Foundation and Kids at Risk Action.


Gifted with a strong baritone voice, Joe didn't hesitate to use it to support a just cause, deliver an opinion at a public hearing, or spontaneously sing a song.  He loved jazz, played the trumpet, and led dance bands in high school and college.  His military service piqued an interest in the intelligence community.  His interests-and his heart- ranged widely.  His compassion was measured in many quiet acts of outreach to others.  His joy at being the beloved “Papa” to his eight grandchildren could not be measured.  Joe will be greatly missed by his family and many friends.

Due to Covid-19, a private family Mass will be held at St. Bartholomew Church in Wayzata on Saturday, November 7 at 12:00.  A 20 minute graveside service will be held at 1:15 on the grounds of Holy Name of Jesus Cemetery - 155 CR24.   All are invited to attend.  Masks will be available for all.  A celebration of “An Irish Life Well Lived” will be held at a later date.


Memorials preferred to Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners ( or Kids at Risk Action (    

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph Michael McCarthy, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
November 7, 2020

1:15 PM
Holy Name Cemetery
155 County Road 24
Medina, MN 55391

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