Brian McGarry was a beloved member of the Legislative, known for embodying selfless public service up until his passing last fall. Serving as minority leader, McGarry earned respect across party lines – chairman Anthony Jasenski described him as an inspiration to all legislators around him.
McGarry was dedicated to serving his constituents with unwavering dedication despite personal struggles. After being diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer in 2014, he bravely battled his illness while continuing his legislative duties with distinction in District 4, representing Delanson, Duanesburg, Princetown and Rotterdam he was well known and revered throughout this district. Even at later stages of illness he would remain active by joining legislature meetings remotely or sharing stories candidly about life experiences despite physical limitations.
McGarry stood out as an individual due to his multidimensional character and contributions outside of politics. A dedicated husband and father to six children, he deeply believed in Catholicism while dedicating much time and energy into education – his journey from videography at CBS6 news to pursuing a master’s degree in education shows just that commitment to his family’s future.
McGarry made an indelible impactful on many students at Duanesburg High School where he taught various subjects. His influence and inspiration extended well beyond classroom walls – as evidenced by stories shared by former pupils.
McGarry was also an accomplished photographer, running his wedding photography business from the 1970s until handing it off to his daughter in 2015. This creative pursuit provided insight into McGarry’s life beyond public persona.
A Political Journey
McGarry began his political journey, marked by integrity and thoughtfulness, in earnest in 2010 with his unsuccessful bid for Rotterdam supervisor position. But this setback didn’t deter him; rather it spurred further involvement in local politics – ultimately leading him to election to the county legislature in 2013. While in office he distinguished himself by speaking out clearly while remaining respectful with colleagues and constituents alike.
McGarry continued his pursuit of higher office despite his illness, showing his unwavering commitment to public service. Although unsuccessful in his campaign against Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara in the 111th Assembly District, it illustrated his determination and dedication towards his community.
McGarry made a lasting impactful on those he worked with and encountered; colleagues and friends remember his personal qualities such as honesty, approachability and the strength to stand up for his convictions. His influence extended even to inspiring other to enter public service – evidenced by former student Joseph Mastroianni’s rise as an elected Rotterdam Town Board member today.
McGarry made his mark on local politics by helping build the Republican presence within the legislature, with Josh Cuomo and Eric Hess’ election to represent District 4 being particularly satisfying to him, reflecting his influence in local politics.
Brian McGarry left an enduring legacy through his life story of courage, resilience and commitment to his community. His ability to manage multiple roles – legislator, educator, photographer, family man and mentor – as a legislator, educator, photographer family man mentor serves as testament to his talent and unwavering dedication. McGarry will remain an inspiration both in public service and beyond – serving as an example of dedication courage and integrity and leaving an indelible mark on those he touched beyond politics’ confines. His life a testimony to that.