Harry B. McCracken Jr. ’51 died on October 18, 2019, in Norwood, Massachusetts.
(The following was published in The Boston Globe on October 20, 2019:)
Harry B. McCracken Jr., of Norwood, formerly of Westwood, a longtime member of the United States Golf Association’s Regional Affairs Committee and one of New England’s most dedicated golf representatives, died peacefully on October 18, 2019 at the age of ninety-four. Beloved husband of the late Jane (Needham) McCracken. Loving father of Peter T. McCracken and his wife Cheryl of Foxborough and the late Richard T. and Harry B. McCracken, III. Cherished grandfather of Samantha McCracken and Peter McCracken, Jr. and his wife Lizzie. Devoted brother of the late Jean Leahy and Lorna Boyle. Also survived by several nieces and nephews.
Harry McCracken, one of the most recognizable figures in the local golf scene, has been a fixture at Mass Golf, New England Golf and USGA events since 1969 when he first became a part of the Mass Golf Executive Committee. He rose to the title of Mass Golf president in 1984 and later began work with the New England Golf Association, which serves the golf needs for all of New England. Up until his passing, he served as the Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the New England Golf Association—position he held since 1987—where he oversaw all facets of the association’s operations.
Having already received numerous awards and recognition from nearly every top golf organization in the span of his career, McCracken, Jr. added to his legacy in 2017, when the Massachusetts Amateur Championship Stroke Play Medalist Award was named in his honor. That award appropriately connected the longest-running Mass Golf Championship with one of its longest-tenured representatives and will continue the legacy for as long as the Massachusetts Golf Association is in existence.
In addition to the creation of the Harry B. McCracken, Jr. Stroke Play Medalist Award, its namesake had previously been honored with the 1995 USGA Ike Grainger Award, the 2007 USGA Joe Dey Award and the 2005 New England PGA George S. Wemyss Award, among others. Mass Golf honored him in 1994 with the Frank Sellman Distinguished Service Award (the highest honor given to a Mass Golf volunteer).
McCracken became a member of the USGA Regional Affairs Committee in 1989, and his responsibilities included procuring qualifying sites for the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur. He also assisted in landing sites for U.S. Amateur Public Links, qualifying as well as assigning Rules officials to those sites while acting as the official in charge at most of the qualifiers.
McCracken joined Charles River Country Club as a junior golfer in 1936, and over the years has served three terms on the Board of Governors, including 10 years as vice president and treasurer. Since 1996, the club has annually held the McCracken Cup, a tournament named in Harry’s honor that brings together some of New England’s best low-handicap golfers.
Harry is a graduate of Bowdoin College and served his country as a Sargent in the United States Army During WWII.