Christian 19

Brenda Lee (Gale) McCarthy

March 26, 1960 ~ June 1, 2020 (age 60)


Brenda McCarthy

North Sydney

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our dear wife, mother, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, and friend, Brenda Lee (Gale) McCarthy, age 60, on Monday, June 1, 2020. She left this world surrounded by her loved ones, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Brenda was born to loving parents, the late Elmer “Ick” and Arthena “Tean” (Amey) Gale, on March 26, 1960, in Sydney Mines. She grew up in North Sydney, and graduated from Memorial High School in 1978. Brenda went on to become a Registered Nurse, graduating from St. Martha’s School of Nursing, Antigonish, NS in 1980. Brenda loved Nursing and often went above and beyond for her patients. Throughout her diverse 40-year career, Brenda nursed in Halifax, Florida, Germany, Annapolis Valley and Cape Breton. She was employed for the last 20 years of her career as an Operating Room Nurse at the Northside General and Cape Breton Regional Hospitals. Brenda served with her local nurses’ union as president from 2012 to 2017.

Brenda married her husband of 30 years, Donald “Benson” McCarthy on August 26, 1989, and together they raised their two children, Kristina Jean (Gordie) and Timothy James. Brenda treasured her family and proudly embraced every moment with them. She also had a special spot in her heart for her fur baby, Georgia.

Brenda was very involved in her church, St. John Anglican, North Sydney. She was a member of the choir, the altar guild, lay ministry, and a past member of the mothers’ union. She was also a part of the “Cursillo” movement. She became a Cursillista in 2008 and played the guitar for numerous Cursillos for the past 11 years. Her faith was strong, as was her love of music and laughter. She had the best laugh.

Along with her husband and children, Brenda was dearly loved and will be forever missed by her 3 sisters and brothers-in-law: Heather (Glen) Quirk of Oromocto, NB, Nancy (Myers) Boutilier, and Amy (Peter) Gouthro of North Sydney. Her sister-in-law Josilyn (Gordie) Hare of Coldbrook, NS; nieces and nephews: Shannon (Chris), Brandy (Marc), Jaime (Adrian), Sienna (Tristan), Ryan (Maura), Mark (Brittany), Adam (Taylor), Dawn, Aimee (Harrison); great nieces and great nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and many, many friends. Brenda made friends wherever she went. She had many childhood, high school, and nursing friends, as well as church, Cursillo, work and union friends. She cherished these friends and was dearly loved by all who knew her.

Besides her parents, Brenda was pre-deceased by her mother and father-in-law, Ada (Jeans) and Timothy McCarthy.

Sadly, Brenda was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2017. Family and friends were devastated and encircled Brenda with love and support. She fought with everything she had and was certain she had beaten the odds. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with a recurrence in July 2019. She could have given up then but decided she still had more to offer. She put her energy into raising pancreatic cancer awareness, while fund raising for a “Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Machine” for the Cape Breton Cancer Center. She was humbled and grateful for the enormous response she received from family, friends, and community.

Although we are broken hearted to say goodbye to Brenda, we know she has been reunited with loved ones. Her beautiful smile will live on in our hearts forever. Go with God, Brenda, and rest in peace.

The family would like to pass on their gratitude to Brenda’s care givers at the Northside General Hospital, along with Dr. Hilda Tremblett, Dr. Joan Salah, Dr. Wissam Saliba, Dr. Waseem Sharieff, Dr. Elwood MacMullin and Dr. Neil Christians in Cape Breton, as well as Dr. Mark Walsh and staff at the Victoria General in Halifax. A very special thank you goes out to the angels who staff the Cape Breton Cancer Center.    

Due to Covid-19 restrictions a celebration of Brenda’s life will take place at a later date. Funeral arrangements are under the care and direction of W.J. Dooley Funeral Home, 107 Pleasant Street, North Sydney. Memorial donations may be made to the St. John Anglican Church, North Sydney, or a charity of choice.  Online condolences may be sent to the family at    



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