Edward J. McCaffrey
December 16, 1929 – May 22, 2020
Son, husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, friend. Many roles for a life well lived. Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1929. Orphaned at a young age, an only child, and on his own early in life he enlisted in the Army at age 17 and was stationed at Walter Reed. Upon being honorably discharged from the service he began working for the United States Postal Service in the mailroom at the main DC postal headquarters. It was during this time that he meet and married his wife of 69 years on March 17, 1951. Yep. St. Patrick’s day. Not bad for an Irishman. Then along came daughter Kathy followed by Audrey 17 months later. Throughout his working life, he had one employer, the United States Postal Service. To sum up his successful work career he rose from a position in the mailroom to the appointed job of Assistant Postmaster General of Rates and Classifications. Under his well educated and specialized watch the Post Office was consistently kept in the black during his administration. Though he worked many long hours, numerous weekends and traveled internationally on business, he always put family first. Whether it be events the girls were involved in, league bowling with his wife and relatives, or square dancing you could always count on him to juggle events to be with family. His commitment to his wife, Audrey, is certainly one to be admired and can serve as a model to other married couples. Grandfather, as he was often referred to, was also very involved in the Methodist Church over the years. That involvement included working on live shows performed by the church, committee work, and an active participation in the Men’s Club helping out with community breakfasts. In addition, though he did not have sons, he was a Boy Scout leader for many years. His early days as a Sea Scout contributed to his love of sailing and the water. He could often be found researching the family genealogy, honing his extensive history knowledge, or revising his stamp collection. Jigsaw puzzles provided hours of quality family time gathered around his dining room table. He also enjoyed a good game of poker with his buddies. As he was a well rounded man, home repairs and car maintenance were included in his repertoire. Grandfather took great pride in his daughters and when the grandsons, Robert, Andrew and Matthew arrived on the scene that pride extended to them. He was at numerous activities they were involved with throughout their lives. He proudly watched his three grandsons receive their diplomas from high school and college. And his circle of love widen as wives were taken and a baby was born. The smile on his face as he held, Amy, his great-granddaughter was a testament to the depths of his love for family. Grandfather had a personality type unmatched by many. Quiet, strong, honest, generous to a fault and understanding. He embodied respect, admiration and love. Son, Husband, Father, Father-in-Law, Grandfather, Great-grandfather, Uncle, Friend. For 90 years, a life well lived. One that has left a lasting positive impression on all who knew him. He will be missed; he will not be forgotten. Rest In Peace Grandfather.
Survived by his loving wife, Audrey McCaffrey, adoring daughters, Kathy Hildebrandt (John), Audrey Frace (Gary), devoted grandsons Robert Hildebrandt (Anna), Andrew Frace, Matthew Frace (Caitlin), infant great-granddaughter (Amy) and a wonderful array of loving nieces and nephews.
Burial services will be private at Norbeck Memorial Park, Olney, MD. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory can be made to Oakdale United Methodist Men, ATTN: Ira Branson, Treasurer 3425 Emory Church Road Olney, MD 20832 Road
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Edward J. McCaffrey
May 27, 2020
I’m an actor and I study people. One of the most epic and rewarding character studies of my life has been my Grandfather. I have been watching him my entire life – he is the man you study to become a better man. And, though words cannot do justice to illuminate all that I have learned from this great man, here are some thoughts on some of the studies of my Grandfather, Edward McCaffrey.
In studying my Grandfather, I learned about STILLNESS. With his arms crossed while sitting in a chair, he exuded a quiet and reserved confidence. With a murmur of his “never raised voice,” he could command respect. With a cock of his bushy eyebrow, he showed amusement in others without passing judgement. I studied the way he ate, how he prepared “our special sandwich,” the way he methodically drank his tea, the way he held his fork, the way he wrote with his pen, the way he never rushed - he was good at savoring. At the head of the table he sat, not as a king, but as a proud observer of his family whom he loved dearly. And, we loved him immeasurably in return.
In studying my Grandfather, I learned about HUSTLE. Taking pride in your work, never complaining, always providing for your family, friends, and even strangers. He worked his way up from being orphaned at a young age, to enlisting in the army, to honorably being discharged, to working in the mail room of the US Postal Service, and eventually climbing the ladder all the way to up to become Assistant Postmaster General of The United States. The American Dream realized through tireless work ethic. He worked for one employer his entire life – a study in loyalty. With his sand-scrubbed hands, he taught us grandboys how to give a “manly handshake.”
May 27, 2020
In studying my Grandfather, I learned about EDUCATION. His thirst for knowledge was never quenched. Grandfather was an extremely intelligent man who loved to read, study history, and genealogy. He attended Harvard, took night classes, and was willing to participate in various studies later in life. It was very important to Grandfather that he kept his mind honed and like everything else he remained sharp as a tack all the way up into his later years.
In studying my Grandfather, I learned about FUN. I remember him working on jig saw puzzles, crossword puzzles, and other games of wit. He loved games of skill. Not physical, but mental. Though I was told he was quite the square dancer and bowler in his younger years. He was also always willing to “break out the old stamp collection” at any time to share. A hearty chuckle would form tears in his eyes as he laughed at the notion. He loved jokes too. He taught me how to whistle and fly a kite – see picture.
In studying my grandfather, I learned about CLASS. He exemplified middle-class sophistication and was a true gentleman. It’s hard to pinpoint what defines “having class,” but it was modestly displayed in the way he presented himself. His shirt was tucked in while he was in the house, his collection of ties was unparalleled, and his white New Balance sneakers were always clean. He exuded a sense of refinement in a simple way. In his later years, he refused Velcro and preferred to tie his own shoes. He didn’t mind putting in the work.
In studying my Grandfather, I learned about FRIENDSHIP. An unbelievably generous man who was willing to help no matter the circumstance. He led by example rather than talking about his good deeds. This was a man who didn’t talk the talk, he walked the walked. Never asking favors in return. He volunteered with the Methodist Men, gave to other organizations, and all his friends generously. Moreover, he always had time to listen and be there for you in any circumstance.
May 27, 2020
In studying my Grandfather, I learned about PROTECTION. When you left his house, he would stand in the garage and watch you go with a wave of his hand making sure you were accompanied personally by him as he eagerly awaited your return. With Grandfather, you felt safe. If you got lost on the road, before Google Maps, you could call Grandfather and he would get out his maps to lead you in the right direction. If you were still lost, he would come find you and take you back home. Outside of home and on vacation at Sea Colony, he told us Grandboys just to holler if we got into any danger while he was napping. Grandfather could handle any situation without fear.
In studying my Grandfather, I learned about LOVE. He was part of an older generation that stuck to promises and took stock in their word. His commitment to my Grandmother for 69 years exemplifies the meaning of true love. Always putting himself before others he was equally devoted to his daughters, grandchildren, and all of the relatives – a true family man. Grandfather was always ready and willing to travel wherever and whenever to see my shows, and it brought me so much joy to see his face in the audience. He took pride in my passion, and I felt his love from the stage.
In studying my Grandfather, I learned about LIFE. Here is to a life well lived as his spirit lives on in the legacy, lessons, and love he shared. He will remain in my heart and in my thoughts forever.
I hope that people see my Grandfather in me because I studied him so intently. After all, he was the one who taught me how to study.
May 25, 2020
Memories of Edward J. McCaffrey (Uncle Eddie to me)--Growing up, Aunt Audrey and Uncle Eddie lived next door to us in Washington, DC, our grandmother lived with them, and Nana (Helen) and Uncle Frank lived a few blocks away (a short walk or bike ride). There was a constant circulation between the three houses, and Uncle Eddie was an integral part of “the village” that raised all of us cousins. I recall that he was “a Ford man”, while most of the family were partial to Chevy’s. Maybe that’s where my partiality to Fords began. When I went to work for Metro in DC in 1973, it was still under construction. Uncle Eddie was fascinated by the technology involved in building it and eventually operating it. I was able to arrange a behind the scenes tour of tunnels and stations under construction and the control center. He loved it, and we had many discussions about Metro over the years. I also enjoyed hearing about the ceremonies he attended throughout the world when ‘first day of issue stamps’ were released. Since we now live near Galveston, TX he sent me the stamp and “first day of issue” envelope honoring Bernardo Vicente de Gálvez who first mapped Galveston Island in 1785. He always found a way to make a connection, and he will be missed.
May 25, 2020
As a child, I fondly remember my uncle Eddie and aunt Audrey as another set of parents. Eddie was always patient and understanding and provide sound advice. I remember him as clever and fun. As an adult, I saw the same person I remembered as a child. When I had occasion to visit with him and Audry, the conversation was about family. Witnessing his dedication to his wife Audrey and the rest of his immediate and extended family was a lesson that has and always will serve me well. Rest in peace and comfort.
May 25, 2020
To this day I can hear Uncle Eddie saying, “What’s the big idea?” I’m 5 or 9 or 12 yrs. old, a deer in headlights-frozen with fear. No raised voice, maybe lowered eyebrows just those 4 simple words. The memory forever woven in our family’s fabric still laughed about to this day. Uncle Eddie instilled in me the importance of higher education. I recall many Hubbard/McCaffrey dinners when he arrived late because he was attending college classes after working all day. A warm plate of leftovers covered with foil, Kathy, Audrey and I awaiting his return home. Later, in life I sought his advice on issues of business and bureaucracy. Issues he was well versed in as the result of his ascent to the upper echelon of the U.S. Postal Service. In my mind, Uncle Eddie was the consummate family man. Exhibited by his attendance at the birth of my children Zach and Rebecca. There to congratulate, celebrate and welcome the next generation of the family. I’ll cherish his memory and life always. Hey, Uncle Eddie - WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA!!!