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Thomas James Mulcahy, Jr.

June 22, 1939 — May 29, 2024

Ponte Vedra Beach

Thomas James Mulcahy, Jr.

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Thomas James Mulcahy, Jr. of Ponte Vedra, FL and Quechee, VT (formerly of Brookfield, CT) passed away peacefully on May 29, 2024. He was a beloved husband, father, and PaPa whose love of country, family, football, the ocean, and ice cream will be deeply missed.

Son of the late Thomas J. and Agnes MacDonald Mulcahy, Tom was born in Malden, MA on June 22, 1939. He grew up across Massachusetts and was extremely proud of his Boston heritage. Tom came from a hard-working family: a father who worked at an ice cream plant and a mother who waitressed at night. In his later years, despite his failing memory, he entertained his grandchildren with stories of visiting his father at the ice cream plant after school and devouring the defective popsicles that had been saved for him. This earned him the family nickname “Pop”sicles.   

Known as Tommy to his family and childhood friends, he was the oldest of four brothers. Sharing stories of antics with his brothers Jerry, Frank and Al always brought laughter and a sparkle to his eyes. He had a great love of sports and played many from a young age – baseball, hockey, swimming, basketball, and football. Tom benefited greatly from his time at the Boys Club in Pittsfield and attended the club’s summer camp, Camp Russell at Richmond Shores in the Berkshires. He lived for summers at Camp Russell. When he was too old to be a camper, he worked as a counselor and ran the camp kitchen. When asked about defining influences in his life, he pointed to the Boys Club as critical to his development.

Tom graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1957. No one in his family had attended college, but with the help of a high school teacher who spotted his promise and encouraged him to apply, he earned a football scholarship to the University of Miami. In addition to being a college athlete, he was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. Tom graduated in 1961 with a degree in business and immediately entered the U.S. Marine Corps where he proudly served for four years. His Marine Corps experience reinforced his natural discipline, which he carried into his career. He loved his country and bestowed upon his family patriotism and a tremendous appreciation for the opportunities in America.

Tom spent his professional career in the fast-food industry, quickly becoming a rising star in the McDonald’s organization, and earning a reputation as a strong operator and trainer. He found great pleasure in helping others learn new skills and he recognized the restaurant industry as a place that could offer economic and leadership opportunities to people from all backgrounds. He earned an MBA from Northeastern University while working full-time.

In 1985, after many years working alongside founder Dave Thomas as a senior leader at Wendy’s, he took the leap and opened his own franchise in Poughkeepsie, NY. At the time, Tom had a young family and a comfortable corporate job, but he wanted the chance to build and run something himself. It could only have been accomplished with the support of his devoted wife, Barbara. She went to Wendy’s training and learned the financial aspects of the business. His daughters, Heather and Shannon, worked after school and on weekends, happily paid in fries and Frosties (initially). He believed that success came from being hands-on in the business. Over his twenty-five-year franchise career, he received numerous “Wendy” awards recognizing his operational leadership. He enjoyed mentoring Shannon as she took over the business. By the time he retired, Tom operated five restaurants. He worked hard and was an excellent model for his daughters, emphasizing the importance of goal-setting and believing in oneself.

In retirement, Tom enjoyed playing golf and traveling with his wife and close friends to Hawaii, Ireland, and Jamaica. Watching the ocean from the Oasis Bar at Sawgrass was a favorite pastime.

His integrity, unconditional gratitude for life, humbleness, and ability to always see the best in people is his lasting legacy.

Tom is survived by his wife of nearly 51 years, Barbara; his daughters Heather Breslau and Shannon Mulcahy; his son-in-law Jeremy Breslau; and his three adoring grandchildren, Naomi, Maya, and Andrew Breslau.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to your local Boys & Girls Club of America or Community Hospice of Jacksonville, FL.

To order memorial trees in memory of Thomas James Mulcahy, Jr., please visit our tree store.

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