Dwight D. Darcy, JD, Class of 1963
President, Catholic Big Brothers, New York, NY
Father of a Prep Graduate
The son of Donald Darcy and Geraldine Kindermann Darcy was born in the Bronx in 1946 and lived on the Grand Concourse close to Yankee Stadium as a boy. Though his family would move to Bronxville before his Prep years, Dwight's adeptness at street games such as stickball, boxball and coin pitching would remain a testament to his Bronx roots. His mother was a homemaker and his father was CEO of North Side Savings Bank, a well-known Bronx lending institution. Thanks to his father's business connections, Dwight acquired a lifetime pass to Yankee games — with guest privileges. Many a Prepster spent more than a few memorable afternoons in the upper deck of Yankee stadium with Dwight and his brother Keith, Class of 1966, occasionally joined by the Darcy boys' sister, Joan.
While at the Prep, Darcy was a member of the Prep Speech & Debate Team and acted with the Dramatics Society for four years. He was also a class officer and member of the Council of Discipline during his senior year. In the words of classmate Jack Friery, longtime friend and fellow member of the Prep Stage Crew: "Dwight was a very bright, funny, gentle guy.”
Darcy completed his Fordham trifecta by attending the College and then Fordham Law School, graduating from both with honors. During his time as an undergraduate, Dwight participated in the Passion play productions directed by fellow Hall of Honor inductee, Fr. Jack Leonard, SJ. Participants were prepped to play several roles, and Dwight played Christ several times during those years.
While attending the evening division at Fordham Law, he taught at Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx. He later became a member of the board of trustees of that institution and was made an affiliate member of the Marist Brothers because of his excellent work at the school.
His first job out of law school in 1971 was as an assistant district attorney in Bronx County under District Attorney Burton Roberts, a legendary personality in his own right. Dwight was soon involved in major case work, and he would delight in telling stories about the many and varied characters he had prosecuted — stories that were embellished by his own considerable dramatic skills. Later, he was affiliated with a law firm specializing in labor relations and then joined the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Dwight eventually became a senior attorney for the Authority and its chief labor attorney. He was also head of the Labor Relations Division at the World Trade Center, a position he held at the time of his death.
Dwight married Veronica Griffin of Mullingar, Ireland, in 1976. They had two sons, Kieran and Ryan. A graduate of the Prep, Holy Cross College, and Fordham Law School, Ryan would also work for the Port Authority in the same Labor Relations Division as his father, who drafted many of the rules and procedures that became the backbone of Port Authority daily operations. Kieran graduated Regis High School, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Journalism School at Columbia University, afterwards taking a position at ESPN in New York.
“He was a man with catholic artistic tastes,” remarked Dennis Ahern, Dwight’s classmate at the Prep and lifelong friend. Dwight and Veronica were devoted opera fans and often attended performances of the Metropolitan and City Operas. But Dennis, Assistant Principal at Fordham Prep at the time of Darcy's induction to the Hall of Honor, also told of going with Dwight to see the Bruce Lee movie Enter the Dragon at the Loew’s Paradise on the Grand Concourse: “We were there with thousands of screaming martial arts fans,” recalled Dennis, who added that Dwight seemed to enjoy it as much as he might have enjoyed a discussion of French literature (presumably in a quieter venue). Dennis also described how Dwight kept marble notebooks in which he pasted hundreds of those small “odd news” items that newspapers used to publish as fillers at the bottom of a partial column. “He had a great sense of the absurd,” added Ahern.
His talents extended even to forgery — sort of. He worked several summers for the Yankee organization answering fan mail. According to Dennis Ahern, this job included “signing” the letter for the players. One of Dwight’s favorite bar tricks at the time was to demonstrate his expertise on cocktail napkins, simulating the signature of one player or another.
Dwight Darcy could talk to anyone — and usually did. He had a wide range of acquaintances in college, from athletes to eggheads to oddballs. That trait persisted throughout his life, and one of his greatest gifts was his ability to maintain friendships. According to Dennis Ahern “He kept his network alive .... He did not let people fall away."
Darcy was a longtime member and president of the Parish Council of St. Joseph’s Church in Bronxville, where he was also a lector and a Eucharistic minister. As noted by those closest to him, in his own quiet and private way, Dwight was a deeply religious man. He was also a lifetime member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and was very active in several charitable organizations in the New York City area. Succeeding his father, he was a member of the board of directors of Catholic Big Brothers for more than 25 years, serving as president from 1981 to 1983.
Darcy was working on the 66th Floor of the North Tower on the morning of September 11, 2001. In his memory and to honor Darcy's legacy and commitment to the agency, Catholic Big Brothers would create Dwight’s Lights, a special mentoring program for children who lost parents on 9/11.