Jeffrey S. McCartney

jeffrey mccartney

October 25, 1951 ~ February 18, 2024

Jeffrey S. McCartney

1951 – 2024

Jeffrey (Jeff) McCartney, 72, of Leonia, passed away peacefully at home on February 18. He is the beloved husband of 48 years to Robert (Bob) Leap and cherished father to their daughter, Emily McCartney-Leap. Born and raised in Fairview, NJ, Jeff was preceded in death by his parents Robert (Buddy) McCartney and Joan Juliano McCartney Daniel; stepfather John Daniel; brothers Robert (Bobby) and Douglas McCartney; and “adopted” grandparents Sol and Sadie Epstein.

Jeff spent his early career working in the publishing industry and later became a fundraising/development specialist for institutions like the Museum of Natural History, The Guggenheim, and Bank Street College of Education. A firm believer in “giving back” to his community, Jeff’s civic involvement included his participation on the Leonia Board of Adjustment and serving several terms as President of the Leonia Board of Education.

One of Jeff’s greatest pleasures was being a member of The Players Guild of Leonia for many years, where he made many lifelong friends and had the opportunity to exercise his passion for theater and music. As a Guild member, he is best remembered for directing a number of major productions including “She Loves Me;” “Annie;” “Damn Yankees;” “Bye, Bye, Birdie;” and “As the World Goes Round.” His greatest contribution to the Guild was leading the fundraising effort to secure the finances and resources needed to convert the dilapidated Civil War Drill Hall into the Players Guild’s permanent home and performance space. Jeff also applied his theatrical expertise as chair of the Theater Ministry at St. John’s Church in Leonia, where he engaged members of the parish of all ages in staging secular and religious productions, most notably “The Sounds of Christmas,” “Lessons and Carols,” “America Sounds It’s Music,” and “The Living Stations of the Cross.”

Jeff will be remembered by family and friends for his willingness to step up and pitch in whenever someone was in need of help. His strong faith and resilience gave him the courage and fortitude to always be hopeful in fighting his illness.

Friends will be received on Thursday from 4-8 pm at the Frank Patti and Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home 327 Main Street Fort Lee. The funeral will leave on Friday 10:30 am for the celebration of his funeral mass in St. John’s RC Church (Leonia) at 11 am. For further information call (201) 944-0100.


Mass: February 23, 2024 11:00 am

St. John R. C. Church
Broad & Harrison Avenue
Leonia, NJ 07605

Visitation at Funeral Home: February 22, 2024 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Burial: February 23, 2024 12:30 pm

Brookside Cemetery
425 Engle Street
Englewood, NJ 07631

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Memories Timeline


  1. My heart is heavy for all of us who will miss Jeffrey so very much but also know he is freed from this disease and is watching out for us from " that great cloud of witnesses." Love and hugs from Colorado. Xoxox

  2. "Back in the day" it was a practice to feature new members in one of the monthly meeting programs at the Players Guild of Leonia. I was thrilled when he asked me to be in a shortened version of "She Loves Me." He was encouraging, patient, and we all had a good time.
    Thank you, Jeff.
    Patt Mazzeo

  3. One of the many great people I had the pleasure to know and work with at my early years at the Players Guild. Deepest sympathies to Bob and Emily.

  4. One of the finest, funny, smartest, talented and kind person we have known. Frank and I worked with Jeff and Bob for many years. The Players Guild, community and I worked with him at Prentice Hall where he launched audio books. A light has gone out. Let's look for him in the stars!
    Joan-Ellen & Frank Messina

  5. We traveled such a crooked path together. From our preschool childhood friendship to our years in grad school and well beyond. As I reminisce, I realize how binding the bonds were. Your company was always therapeutic to me. You will be dearly missed. Bob and Emily, we will carry on in Jeff’s honor. With love and sorrow, Arthur and Paula

  6. The California Alumnus Wing of the Players' Guild of Leonia is very sorry to have read of Jeff's passing. He was a good friend to Kay and me when we worked together on various productions in the early '80s, always a pleasant spirit in whose presence you could not help but be uplifted. Our deepest condolences go out to Bob and to the family.

  7. Although we lost touch over the years, I remember Jeff as a funny, kind, and loving friend. Leap and Emily, you have my deepest condolences.

  8. Jeff was a valued colleague at Bank Street College, from whom I learned a lot about the world of educational publishing. He had strong principles, thoughtful opinions, a gentle manner and wit and humor. Through his work at Bank Street, he made many contributions to the College and its mission. Our lives were enriched by working with him and his memory will always be for blessing.

  9. Dear Emily and Bob and all the family and friends of Jeff,
    We were shocked and very sad to hear of Jeff’s passing. He always treated Julia and I with kindness and understanding when many did not. He is one of the main reasons that Julia is now thriving and had opportunities that she may never have had if it wasn’t for his influence. We are sorry that we won’t get to see him again to thank him in person. He loved his life and shared that positive gift with all. Emily and Bob, Julia and I send our love and condolences to you both during this very trying time. Keep him close to your heart. He will always be with you.
    With sympathy, Barbara and Julia Shaughnessy, Annapolis MD

  10. I loved singing with Jeff and Bob at St Johns choir. They added great voices, laughs and were always up for singing the harmonies.

    Jeff and Bob also could be seen regularly strolling our neighborhood, always smiling and saying hello to friends.

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