The Way You Wear Your Hat....
Dad loved music. The Big Band’s, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, were always a part of Dad’s life. His brother Frank once said that he was one of the best dancers in Queens. He could be seen flowing gracefully to a slow dance, and his Goddaughter and niece Patricia was thankful for him introducing her generation to Sinatra. He would put the vinyl on the phonograph, and groove to the music with them.
Dad delighted in making other’s laugh. His "Candid Tape Recorder" at party’s was legendary for providing a newfound way of laughing at ourselves. We all would get a kick out of watching him take forever to set up for the perfect picture. "I’m not taking it yet, I’ll let you know…on the count of 3…" while we managed to hold a smile until our jaws locked. Yes, he was a perfectionist. His sister Margie appreciated that he always took such great care in all he did.
Dad loved to teach. His niece Maura once mentioned that he taught her how to tie her shoes, and answer the phone properly – "This is the McDonald’s residence, who is calling please?". Niece Patricia was impressed by her Uncle’s intelligence and sophistication.
Dad had principles and polish. His brother David recalled how he would keep his tavern closed on Good Friday, "unheard of in those days". His sister Florrie would speak of Dad’s dapper wardrobe and elegant manner.
Dad loved the art of conversation. Niece Florence recalls how he would arrange his thoughts before speaking so eloquently, and her sister Regina remembers how he would love to just sit down and enjoy a conversation.
Dad was resilient. It could be best summed up by his son-in-law Denis, who once said he had a "remarkable constitution". Throughout his life, his strong heart never missed a beat. He lived to see the comings and goings of many people and things he admired. Robert Stack. Pan Am. The Concorde. His beloved Oldsmobile – which nephew Dan recalled admiring the 2-tone models he used to arrive in on a Sunday afternoon. And, most importantly to him and the bane of his existence for many years, he lived to see the end of LILCO.
Dad was the quintessential entertainer, and he was a class act, all of his 85 years. Whether behind the bar, humming a tune or shooting a wicked game of pool, he was smooth as silk. He was a little Fred Astaire, a little Frank Sinatra, a little Felix Unger, and a little Archie Bunker. He could capture a child’s imagination by pulling a nickel out of their ear, or showing a card trick he used to perform at his bar. He could engage anyone in conversation on any topic. At the core of all of this was one desire – to make others happy. Through his deeds and thoughtfulness, he spoke volumes. He gained immense satisfaction in helping others. His love for his family was unwavering, and his nature was to be the protector.
Though a hard worker, he often gave the advice "Get some rest".
Now, we can all take comfort in the fact that he himself was granted eternal rest with his parents, sister, aunts and uncles, and a grandson named Christopher that shall be forever young for him.
Click signature below to view Dad's Photo Album, or click chapters below
Click to hear song recorded and played in memory of Dad by Marian McPartland; Jazz pianist, next door neighbor and good friend of Mom and Dad's for many years. She plays The Beatles "Here, There and Everywhere".
Click to see the historic 1958 picture "A Great Day in Harlem" where she poses with many jazz greats. (She's holding a bag toward the middle front) That's Count Basie sitting on the curb, and Dizzy Gillespie at extreme right.