Oneonta Judge and Community PIllar “Dick” McVinney Dies at 68
The Honorable Judge Richard “Dick” W. McVinney of Oneonta passed away at his home on Saturday, March 28, 2020, following a three-year battle with declining health.
Dick was born on Dec. 22, 1951, in Oneonta to Clifford “Mac” and Elizabeth “Betty” (Platt) McVinney.
A true Oneontan, Dick attended Bugbee Elementary School and earned the rank of Eagle Scout at just 13 years old. With his Varsity “O” in tennis, he graduated from Oneonta High School in 1970. Beginning his collegiate studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, Dick went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oneonta in 1973 and his master’s degree from the University of Maine in 1974, and Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School in 1982.
Elected in November 1975, Dick was the youngest citizen to ever serve on the Oneonta Common Council, from 1976 to 1979. He proudly led the council’s efforts to preserve the Old Post Office on Main Street (present-day City Hall) and to purchase the land and steer funding for the construction of the Oneonta Public Safety Building.
Dick married Kathleen “Irish” Rose Dougherty on July 29, 1978, at St. Mary’s Church. His staunchest and steadiest supporter, Irish pushed Dick to pursue his life’s calling in law. Graduating from Albany Law School in 1982, Dick went into practice with his friend and mentor, John Van Woert. After two decades of private practice, Dick was appointed to the position of Oneonta City Court judge in 2009, serving until his retirement in 2019.
Ever the athlete, Dick enjoyed tennis in Wilber Park, basketball on Woodside Avenue and Maple Street and golfing at the Oneonta Country Club. Dick was also an accomplished chess player; being ranked by the U.S. Chess Federation in the 1960s in correspondence chess.
He was never without a book nearby or a crossword puzzle far from completion. While spending springs on Crumhorn Lake, summers in Cape Cod and Alberta, Canada, and autumns in North Carolina, Dick cherished his time outdoors crabbing and fishing with family and friends.
His love for the law shone through memberships in the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the state Trial Lawyers Association, state Public Defenders Association and state Board of Public Relations as an arbitrator.
His love for this area shown through service on the Catskill Area Hospice Board of Directors, the Hartwick College Citizens Board, Hanford Mills Museum, Oneonta Kiwanis Club, Oneonta Rotary Exchange, Delaware County Fish & Game Committee, Habitat for Humanity and many other civic organizations.
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