Tara McCarthy

Tara McCarthy died at her home in Woodstock on October 12, after a long struggle with dementia.

Tara was born in New York on June 20, 1933. Her family moved to Scarsdale when she was five. After high school she attended Catholic University in Washington, later earning a master’s degree in education at Columbia University. 

An early marriage brought her to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where she taught third grade for three years. After she returned east, she worked as a writer and editor at My Weekly Reader and wrote a book called “Room 10” based on her classroom experiences. It was published under her original name of Agnes McCarthy and became a minor children’s classic, remaining in print for more than 25 years.

After writing a few more trade books, Tara was recruited by an educational publisher and began a long career as a writer of educational materials, textbooks and teacher guides. She wrote for several major publishers, collaborated on two adult literacy series, and ended her career as a writer for Scholastic, for which she wrote many books. She also wrote poetry and short stories for her private amusement.

She moved to Woodstock in the late 1960s, where she married Hal Wise and raised their son Daniel. In 1985, several years after her separation from Wise, she became the companion of Leslie Gerber. The couple eventually married in 2011. He survives her, as do Daniel and his wife Deb, now of Sarasota, Florida. Her sister, Mary Marks, of Greenwich, Connecticut, died in 2017.

Tara was known to her friends and colleagues as a regal beauty (she was 6’2” tall) of rare intelligence, great kindness, and a quick and wicked sense of humor. She was one of a kind.

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