Hugh Carey, Former New York Governor, Dies at 92

By Tom Liddy on August 7, 2011 10:29am | Updated on August 7, 2011 12:19pm

Former New York Governor Hugh Carey (D-NY) attends the Inner Circle Awards March 3, 2001 at the New York Hilton and Towers Hotel in New York City.  He died on Aug. 7, 2011 in Long Island.
Former New York Governor Hugh Carey (D-NY) attends the Inner Circle Awards March 3, 2001 at the New York Hilton and Towers Hotel in New York City. He died on Aug. 7, 2011 in Long Island.
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George De Sota/Getty Images

MANHATTAN - Former governor Hugh Carey, who led the state and city through a fiscal crisis in the 1970s, died Sunday morning in his Long Island home.

Carey, a Democrat who served as New York's 51st governor, was 92 when he passed away at his Shelter Island home, according to WABC/Channel 7.

During his tenure, from 1975 to 1982, the Brooklyn-born pol was credited with saving the state and city from bankruptcy.

"Governor Carey took charge of the state in the midst of a fiscal crisis - the bankruptcy of the City of New York," Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote in a statement. "The city's finances were spiraling out of control and the expanding crisis threatened the fiscal stability of the state and the nation.

"Governor Carey faced this challenge with tenacity and a conviction that gave New Yorkers hope that government could lead our state through the crisis."

Carey also spearheaded the "I ♥ New York" campaign and the Empire Games, according to ABC. And he championed the cause of the less fortunate and mentally ill.

"Starting with the Willowbrook decree, Governor Carey took up the fight on behalf of the mentally ill and imposed historic reforms on a mental health care system rife with dysfunction and abuse," Cuomo said.

The Willowbrook decree limited the number of patients that could be housed at a notorious Staten Island facility for the developmentally disabled, where horrific conditions were exposed in the 1970s.

Before taking office, Carey spent 14 years as a congressman from Brooklyn and served in World War II, later retiring from the military as a colonel. 

During the war, the St. John's law school grad helped liberate a Nazi concentration camp.

"Upon leaving office, it was written that Governor Carey was a 'Governor for hard winters.' It was true," said Cuomo. "He was tough, he was smart, and he was the person our state needed to see us through crisis."

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