Four families on Father's Day in Philadelphia

Jack Moore, 64, and Tricia Ushler, 34, after she finished the Gary Papa Run. (Akira Suwa / Staff Photographer)
Jack Moore, 64, and Tricia Ushler, 34, after she finished the Gary Papa Run. (Akira Suwa / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 19, 2012

Eating a Greek brunch, visiting dinosaurs in a museum, going for a run — ways to celebrate Father's Day are as varied as fathers themselves. Despite occasional clouds on Sunday, area families took to parks, museums and restaurants with the fathers in their lives. Here are four families who marked Father's Day in Philadelphia.

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Sunday was no day for participants in the 10th Annual Gary Papa Run to sleep in. Tricia Ushler, 34, of Wilmington and her family began waking up at 5:30 a.m. to prepare for the 5K run/walk named for Papa, the longtime 6ABC Action News sports reporter and anchor who died of prostate cancer in June 2009. Ushler's father, Jack Moore, 64, of West Chester was diagnosed and underwent treatment for prostate cancer three years ago. He is now cancer free.

"Father's Day is a day to celebrate hanging out with my dad," said Ushler, who is training for a half marathon and decided to attend the event for the first time as a way to honor her father and continue training.

The event, which promotes awareness and raises money for prostate cancer research, began in the Eakins Oval at the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 8 a.m. More than 4,000 runners and walkers participated, the largest turnout ever for the run, officials said. Early counts showed that close to $250,000 was raised. Three hundred of the participants were survivors of prostate cancer.

Moore watched with his son-in-law and 5-year-old granddaughter, Zoey. The family usually celebrates Father's Day by going out to brunch and Moore joked with his daughter about being dragged out of bed on Father's Day to attend.

But, he said, watching his daughter run was worth breaking tradition.

"This is better, it means more being a survivor," said Moore.

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A trip for brunch and wandering historic Philadelphia was planned for Ben Dziedzic's Father's Day, although he didn't know it until he woke up and his wife told him to get in the car.

Dziedzic, 36, of Germantown was surprised with a trip to brunch at Kanella's, a Greek restaurant on 10th and Spruce, where he ordered a meal of sausage, duck eggs and spicy yogurt. Dziedzic, his wife, Sarah, and two children, Elliot, 6, and Miranda, 3, wandered through Washington Square around noon and planned to spend the rest of the afternoon touring Philadelphia.

"It's a nice day to just not have a plan and do something together as a family," Sarah Dziedzic said.

As he has gotten older, Ben Dziedzic said the meaning of Father's Day has changed for him. His own family tries to go out and celebrate now that their children are older, and he puts a phone call into his father, who lives in Washington, D.C.

"It's different having kids. It's my Father's Day, but it's also my dad's Father's Day," he said.

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John Smith does not golf, own a car, or have a lawn to mow, but he does enjoy eating barbecue, which he said is the most fatherlike thing he could do with his family to celebrate Father's Day.

"It just seems like something dads are supposed to do," said Smith, 37.

Smith, his wife, Faye, and their 4-year-old son, Maxwell, ate lunch in South Philadelphia outside South Street's Percy Street Barbecue after attending Maxwell's Sunday morning T-ball game at Palumbo Playground. Smith said the day was no different from any other, although he did splurge and asked for a cocktail with lunch, a "Manhattan Texas," the restaurant's take on the Manhattan drink and served in a champagne coupé.

Last Father's Day, the family had barbecue during a bout of homesickness while living in Barcelona, Spain. They found a restaurant that served the American cuisine.

"Barbecue seems to be becoming part of a tradition for us," Smith said.

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Three generations of Love family men trekked to the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences early Sunday afternoon to celebrate Father's Day with a triceratops and T. Rex.

"It's a lot of fun just to take a day to appreciate my dad and spend time with my son," said Jim Love, 38, or Collingswood. Love spent Sunday with his 3-year-old son, Miles, and father, George, 78, of Haddonfield. Miles requested to see the dinosaur exhibit and the three walked hand-in-hand to the museum, stopping for Miles to take in the sights of traffic zooming by in the city.

Grandfather George has plenty of reasons, and family members, to celebrate Father's Day. The father of five children also has 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

"I love Father's Day. It's almost as good as Mother's Day," he said with a laugh.

Contact Dara McBride at 215-854-4904 or dmcbride@philly.com.

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