Matthew Carney III

Obituary of Matthew Francis Carney III

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Matthew F. Carney III passed peacefully from this earth on June 23, 2023 in Corning, New York. He declined rapidly after a lengthy illness. He was born in Elmira, New York on August 7, 1948 to Matthew F. Carney, Jr. and Margaret Underhill Doherty. He grew up in Corning spending summers and later in life living full-time at a bustling family compound on Keuka Lake. 

Cherished childhood memories included hours spent sailing on his beloved Keuka Lake, sharing an attic room with younger brother Allen, trips to the drugstore for candy and treats and listening to 45s of Cindy’s Birthday, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Palisades Park.

Matthew attended boarding school. He celebrated at Woodstock and moved to San Francisco and Seattle where he lived in a commune. His siblings recall trips out West to visit their brother, a hippie with long hair and beard, who worked as a chef at the Gallery Wine House, and Mother Morgan’s Gumbo Factory and Live-in Restaurant Honey, among others. There Matthew honed his culinary skills and cultivated a penchant for healthy food. His younger siblings recall special times as Matthew took them on memorable outings including a visit to Chief Seattle’s grave. 

In 1980, Matthew earned a degree in International Business from Northeastern University. 

Matthew loved books and was an exceptionally well-read. He enjoyed a 15-year career at the Bookmarks store. Matthew enjoyed Mark Twain but most of his focus in later years was social justice oriented and he read extensively, fueling his passions: striving for social justice, achieving world peace, root causes of racism and understanding slavery. He was a deep researcher of many issues related to history, marginalized people, and genealogy where his efforts helped family members to better know their past. He also loved children’s books and often gifted them to his nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews. He was a volunteer at the annual Corning library book sale, specializing in history. 

Matthew was a fierce advocate with a passion for all issues related to history and social justice:  civil rights/history, Indigenous rights, slavery, colonialism and women's rights. He was a firebrand about politics and the Vietnam war in particular. During the 1960s, he turned in his draft card.

Participating in the Seminar on Wheels, sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of Ithaca in February 2019, and he learned about and saw the places of African American non-violent protest in the 60’s, shared his experience with others and was a point of pride for Matthew. He was a regular contributor and supporter of Pax Christie, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Amnesty international.

Throughout his life, Matthew loved to cook. He contributed to group gatherings through his efforts in the kitchen, frequently devoting time to making family recipes for chili sauce, peach jam, salads, spaghetti and meatballs and maple mousse. He especially loved the basil grown in the garden and making gigantic vats of pesto that he would eat throughout the year. 'I don't like to be without it', he once quipped. He adored wine and cheese and subscribed to Cheese Connoisseur Magazine. 

A skilled cribbage player, Mathew was a formidable opponent who won many games. The completion of his 29-point or perfect hand on September 2, 1990 was legendary in the Carney family folklore. His joyous excitement of that moment and its 1 in 216,591 odds were captured for posterity in a Polaroid photo.

To his family and friends, Matthew was a warm, generous, selfless soul who tried to live well for others. He was accepting to all, and a committed member of the community who loved helping people. A kind, affectionate and giving person, Matthew consistently sent greeting cards to mark events including birthdays and anniversaries. His playful side and great sense of humor were always evident in his careful choice of funny, original cards.  

Matthew was predeceased by his parents and his stepfather, William E. Doherty. He is survived by siblings Phil, Allen, Tim and Molly Carney and his Corning cousins, Chip, Anne, and Allen Underhill and Emily Underhill Luchetti. He is also survived by many friends he loved through his many years of work in Corning at Bookmarks, 171 Cedar and Corning, Inc. events. He will be missed.

A memorial hosted by Matthew’s family will take place at Christ Episcopal Church, 33 E. First St., Corning, NY from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday September 16.

In lieu of flowers, donations in tribute to Matthew may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center at 


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Memorial Service

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Saturday, September 16, 2023
Christ Episcopal Church
33 East First Street
Corning, New York, United States
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Matthew Carney III

In Loving Memory

Matthew Carney III

1948 - 2023

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