Tombs and 1789 founder Richard McCooey dies at 83

On August 6 of this year, Tombs and 1789 founder Richard McCooey (COL ’52) died in a home in Greenwich, Conn. of complications related to cancer. McCooey created perhaps the most iconic location in all of Georgetown and was a beloved friend and business partner to many.

“He was an incredibly interesting person,”¬†John Laytham, CEO of Clyde’s Restaurant Group, said in a phone interview with¬†Vox. “He was incredibly committed to the University that he graduated from.”

McCooey founded The Tombs and 1789 in 1962 and later sold the two restaurants, along with F. Scott’s, to Laytham from Clyde’s. Prior to the sale, McCooey and Laytham were close friends and colleagues in the restaurant business, and McCooey trusted Laytham to run his business above anyone else.

“As a person, he loved not only the University but his church and his god, and I know that where he is now is probably somewhere better than when he was here,” Laytham said.

McCooey got the idea for an on-campus restaurant and bar from Mory’s a classic establishment near Yale.

Laytham continued to stress McCooey’s love of Georgetown and support of the school, explaining how McCooey was president of the Yard (old-school GUSA) and received the John Carroll Award in 1966. The Award is reserved for alumni who exhibit and uphold the ideals of Georgetown’s founder.

“He was always interested not only in a call you would make for business but in how you were doing and how your family was doing,” Laytham said.

A memorial service will be held for McCooey in Holy Trinity Church on September 5.

Photo: Courtesy Clyde’s Restaurant Group

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