A celebration of the life of the late David Carney was held at the Bridgehampton Senior Center last Thursday. A former United Nations economist who retired to Sag Harbor in 1985, Dr. Carney died in Southampton on May 8.
Dr. Carney, who arrived in this county from Sierra Leone in 1953 for a professorship at Lincoln University, earned five degrees between 1945 and 1952. Earlier in life he had been a high school teacher, a high school headmaster in Ghana, and a statistician for the Nigerian government.
In addition to Lincoln University, a historically black university in Pennsylvania, Dr. Carney taught at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania, and Antioch College in Ohio. He returned to Sierra Leone as a government economic advisor in 1961, and, between 1963 and 1984, worked in West Africa, East Africa, and the West Indies through the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
The author of several books on economics, philosophy, and religion, he also wrote a literary memento mori to his first wife, Helen, after her death in 1976. He was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, Rotary International, and a lifetime member of the Royal Economic Society.
In retirement, Dr. Carney pursued a wide range of interests from alternative medicine to philosophy. In the electronic age, his personal mission was the preservation of the written word, his family said. He was always ready with a word of advice for those close to him, they wrote, and had been active in the Coalition of Neighborhoods for the Preservation of Sag Harbor. He also volunteered with the Sag Harbor Food Pantry.
A profilic writer of letters to The East Hampton Star over the years, Dr. Carney addressed a wide range of topics including domestic and foreign policy, immigration, and science. He was a harsh critic of the George W. Bush administration and particularly the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In a March 2000 letter about the National Rifle Association, Dr. Carney wrote, “Only a perverted mind would treat causing death, to nonhuman and human animals, as a ‘sport.’ And since there is no way to prevent perverted minds from coming into being, we can at least make it less likely for such minds to follow through with corresponding action by rigorously controlling and restricting general access to death-dealing weapons by the entire population, criminal-minded and not.”
Dr. Carney is survived by a daughter who has asked that her name not be used, by one other child, and by two grandchildren. His second wife, Ellen, died before him.
Memorial donations have been suggested to the Bridgehampton Senior Center, P.O. Box 1059, Bridgehampton 11932, the John Jermain Memorial Library, 34 West Water Street, Sag Harbor 11963 or johnjermain.org, or to UNICEF, 125 Maiden Lane, New York 10038, or unicef.org.