Word has been received of the death in Tulum, Mexico, on July 1 of James T. Carley, a landscaper and fisherman who divided his time between Tulum and Montauk. His death was unexpected, following a leg infection, his family said. He was 60 years old.
Johnny Riley of Montauk, a longtime friend, described Mr. Carley as a “natural-born fisherman,” who began trapping and selling crabs for bait and went on to pursue gill-netting, dragging, and pin-hooking. Most recently, he had taken up clamming and oystering. His friends said he would be remembered as a generous man with a huge heart who helped many people.
Mr. Carley first came across the village of Tulum in the 1970s. For the next 40 years, he had a love affair with the place and the people and learned both Spanish and the Mayan language. Though he went to Mexico to surf, he soon developed a passion for diving. Considered one of the best free divers along the Yucatan coast, he dove to 100-feet and speared large grouper and wahoo, along with having some close encounters with sharks.
He was born on May 28, 1953, in Queens to the former Kathleen Duffy and the late Thomas Carley. Growing up in Queens, he attended McClancy High School and Hunter College but spent weekends and summers at his grandparents’ home in Montauk, where he enjoyed hunting in addition to fishing, and explored the woods and moorlands.
In addition to his mother, who lives in Montauk, Mr. Carley is survived by a sister, Margaret Carley of Albany and by two nieces and one nephew.
A memorial service is planned for Monday, Sept. 30, at 10 a.m. at St. Therese of Lisieux Church in Montauk.