Stephen Paschal Creagh of Nanuet, New York passed away on April 4 at the age of 80 with his family by his side.
Born in the city of Limerick, Ireland, Stephen immigrated with his wife and family to New York in 1959, starting a new life in the Bronx before moving to Rockland in 1977.
Stephen’s outgoing personality, unrelenting honesty, and ability to find a common interest with almost anyone left him surrounded by friends regardless of his location. Stephen possessed the mythical Irish ‘gift of gab,’ which he used to entertain those around him. He reveled in the company of others and, as he lifted a pint, could befriend both the young and old in sheer minutes. His quick wit and warm smile touched all he met and inspired all he loved.
Stephen can be characterized by his strong work ethic and was often seen as ‘Jack of all trades’ by his family and friends. He was handy with every tool and machine and could always be counted on to help family and friends at a moment’s notice. His inability to resist home improvement projects and artistic landscaping ventures (even when it required waking up at 2:00 am to get the best pick of the flowers) benefitted his children and grandchildren, who will now have to learn how to replace light bulbs, assemble Ikea furniture, paint their own walls and plant their own gardens.
Stephen developed his myriad of skills over the years as he wore many hats throughout his career. Starting off as a fireman in Ireland, he trained and worked as a book binder when he arrived in the U.S. Years later, he served as a building superintendent in the Bronx and then was a member of Local 32B when he retired as a school custodian in Manhattan.
The skills he acquired in his numerous jobs were augmented by his passion for the outdoors. Stephen could always be found in the garden and had a true green thumb. Everything he touched, from his fruit trees to his shrubs and perennials flourished, but he will always be remembered for his amazing roses of all colors. He shared this interest with his children and grandchildren, always happy to pass on his secret tricks and techniques. Stephen also loved all animals, big and small. He mended the tiniest of birds, trained the largest of dogs and could always be counted on to sneak a treat to his favorite pets.
When not working outside, Stephen could be found spending hours with his newspapers. An avid reader, Stephen would rely on the New York Post and the Daily News for stories about his adopted hometown, while the Irish Echo and Limerick Leader kept him abreast of news from “home.” He also kept himself entertained with scratch-off lottery tickets and proved to have the ‘luck of the Irish.’ And, in his true altruistic spirit, was always happy to share his winnings with friends and family.
Stephen was an enthusiastic sports fan, watching rugby, hurling and both Gaelic and American football. He also made sure to follow every lacrosse game, swim meet, equestrian competition and baseball game his grandchildren competed in and would brag to his friends with newspaper clippings held in his pocket.
Just last June, Stephen celebrated his 80th birthday, surrounded by his extended family and his many friends. The memories of that special day will long be treasured.
Stephen is survived by his wife of 60 years, Margaret (Peggy Ryan), his daughters Catherine Creagh, Eileen and her husband Joe Antonelli, Barbara and her husband James Aselta, and his sons John and his wife Mary, Gerry and his wife Patty. Stephen treasured his time with his grandchildren: Craig and Callae Snively; Kristina, Brittany and Kaity Creagh; Cara (and Rich) Khan and Jenna Antonelli; Failenn and James Aselta. He was thrilled to hold his first great-grandchild, Talia Khan, just a few weeks ago.
Stephen was predeceased by his parents, Frank and Agnes Creagh, his brother John and his sister Angela. He is survived by numerous nieces and nephews here in the United States and in Ireland.
Visitation will be Sunday, April 7 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm and 7:00 – 9:00 pm at the Wyman-Fisher Funeral Home in Pearl River, New York. A mass of Christian burial celebrating Stephen’s love of life will take place on Monday, April 8 at 10:00 am at St. Anthony’s Church in Nanuet. Burial will follow in St. Anthony’s Cemetery.
Stephen’s grandchild Kristina has organized the team “Stephen’s Eegits” who will participate in the 5K Run/Walk Miles for Hope: Moving Towards a Cure for Brain Tumors, which takes place in Boston on May 4. Anyone wishing to support this cause can learn more at: