Kevin L. Moriarty of Cutchogue, N.Y., passed away on March 25, 2021, at the age of 74, after a nearly 20-year battle with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Kevin had a special outlook on life that rubbed off on those around him. Always the optimist, he recently said, “I’m a happy man. Other people have it worse than me.”
Born on Dec. 8, 1946, in New York City, Kevin attended Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn and received his B.A. from St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia.
Beginning in the late 1960s, Kevin wrote copy at several New York ad agencies before moving to Portland, Maine, as creative director at Body and Company. Nineteen-ninety brought another move, this time to the Windy City and the Leo Burnett Company. Over more than 40 years, as copy writer, creative group head, creative supervisor and creative director, he penned innumerable TV spots and created iconic campaigns for brands like Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Eggo Waffles, McDonald’s and others.
Where most people find joy in retiring, Kevin was forced into early retirement after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and it became too hard to continue the work he loved so much. He was beyond passionate about his career and loved going to work every day. If he could, he would still be telling generations of kids, “They’re GRRRRRREAT!”
Kevin is survived by the love of his life, Tricia Harrison, childhood sweetheart and wife of 51 years; and daughter Michaela, the apple of his eye. At their wedding, Kevin and Tricia expressed their love while dancing to “Love Me Tender,” even though Elvis failed to RSVP to their gracious invitation.
One of the “Lucky Seven” children of Mortimer D. Moriarty and Jane (Gannon) Moriarty, Kevin is survived by Mortimer (Mary Jo), Margaret Egan, Michael, John and Jane Fallon (Mike) and was preceded in death by his brother Daniel (Tom McCauley), brother-in-law Patrick Egan and sister-in-law Kathleen Shine. He was the cherished son-in-law of Sonny and Patricia Harrison (deceased) of Woodside, N.Y., and beloved brother-in-law to Robert Harrison (Rosanne), James Harrison (Lisa), John Harrison (deceased) and Colleen Finegan.
A devoted family man, Kevin delighted in all children and loved being an uncle. He was lucky to have had 16 nieces and nephews and nine great-nieces and -nephews whom he adored. Every one of them was shocked when Uncle Kevin would pull a quarter out of their ear or seem to pluck out an eyeball and roll it around in his mouth before replacing it. He loved the silliness as much as his young audiences did. He was an insatiable ham.
Every day was an opportunity for Kevin to meet new people, make new friends and explore new places and new subjects. Maps, road trips, baseball cards, magazines, Elvis, books and music were among his lifelong passions. Starting as a preteen, he collected 45 rpm records, albums and CDs and, more recently, streamed digital music to speakers in every room. Overflowing bookshelves told a story of his diverse interests and inquisitive intellect. He loved to create videos to send as birthday greetings to family and friends.
Whatever he engaged in, Kevin gave it his all. Several New York City Marathon medals graced his trophy shelf. He was a great sports enthusiast and lifelong Yankee fan, with second tier devotion to the Cubs, Bulls, Knicks, Jets, Bears and pretty much all the others. On a pedestal all their own were his venerated St. Joseph’s Hawks. “The Hawk will never die” was his mantra.
No words written here can do justice to the man Kevin was. So funny, so generous, so loving and kind. If you punched him in the face, he would apologize for upsetting you. He was just a nice guy; sweet, with an irresistible spirit. He would give you the shirt off his back and then admire it to make you feel better. And, of course, he’d buy you a beer at the same time. The world was a better place with him in it.
Due to the continuing COVID crisis, a “Celebration of Life” will be held at a later date when Kevin can be given the kind of sendoff he deserves. To make a gift in his memory, please consider a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research or to East End Hospice in Westhampton, N.Y.
DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Mattituck is serving the family.
This is a paid notice.