Joseph Lee McCarthy, 71, of West Chester, a TV journalist and anchor in a career spanning three decades, died Sunday, March 8, of complications following cancer surgery at Paoli Hospital.

Known as Lee McCarthy to television viewers, he spent the first part of his career globe-trotting as an NBC news correspondent.

Locally, though, he was known as the face of the Ten O'clock News on Channel 29, later Fox 29. Starting in 1986, he took the anchor desk and was paired with Jill Chernekoff.

"There's an energy and excitement here that I didn't feel at NBC when I left," Mr. McCarthy told The Inquirer at that time. "It's a new challenge."

His job offered the Youngstown, Ohio, native a four-year contract without having to hop a plane at a moment's notice. There were few weekends behind the anchor desk, leaving Mr. McCarthy more time to spend with his wife, Bobbie Schnaus, and their five children in Berwyn.

Mr. McCarthy grew up in a household that tuned to the Huntley-Brinkley Report each night; he had always wanted to be an NBC correspondent. After graduating from Notre Dame University in 1965, he began his career at Youngstown's WYTV-TV as anchor, reporter, and news director.

In 1967, he joined Washington's WTOP, reporting on traffic in the morning and news in the afternoon. After a series of job changes, Mr. McCarthy got his big break as a network correspondent. He covered the Portuguese revolution in 1975; Israel and Egypt; Pope John Paul II; and then-Vice President George H.W. Bush's trip to Europe.

Mr. McCarthy won Emmy awards for his coverage of carcinogens in local drinking water and spot-news coverage of a sinking fishing boat off Nova Scotia.

After retiring from network broadcasting in 1993, Mr. McCarthy taught broadcast journalism at Villanova University for 12 years, and in 2006 received a master's degree in liberal arts from Villanova.

His hobbies included cooking, golfing, and socializing with his friends at Chester Valley Golf Club.

The McCarthys moved to Hershey's Mill in West Chester, where he did community journalism. He was the TV program director for Hershey's Mill Channel 20 and edited the community's newsletter.

Besides his wife, he is survived by sons Patrick, Timothy, and Brian; daughter Colleen; a grandson; and a sister. A daughter, Bridget, died earlier.

A 10 a.m. visitation will be followed by an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass on Friday, March 13, at SS. Peter and Paul Church, 1325 Boot Rd., West Chester. Interment will be private.

Donations may be made to the Bridget McCarthy Scholarship Fund, c/o Minnesota Boychoir Landmark Center, 75 W. Fifth St., Suite 411, St. Paul, Minn. 55102. The fund helps send youngsters to summer camp.

bcook@phillynews.com

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