William John McBride, who also owned a bar in Manayunk in the '60s, was an avid golfer and loyal fan of Philadelphia sports teams. He was 81 and lived in a retirement community in Haines City, Fla.
Bill and his wife, Mary Patricia Friel, were among those who tried to keep the Bulletin open. Bill worked through Teamsters Local 628, for which he served as recording secretary, to apply union pressure to the owners, to no avail.
Bill's late brother, John J. McBride, also worked at the Bulletin as a driver in the circulation department. He died in April.
"It was heartbreaking," said Bill's daughter Jocelyn Rocco.
After the paper closed, Bill went to work in circulation for the Daily News. He retired in 1995.
That Bill was such an athlete - he played basketball into middle age - was something of a miracle. He suffered from osteomyelitis as a child, which affected both legs.
At about the age of 8, he had surgery and spent a year in the hospital. For a couple more years, he got around on crutches, but at about the age of 10, he was nearly back to normal, at least enough to play sports. He played both football and basketball at Northeast Catholic High School.
He graduated in 1951 and went to work for the Bulletin. He played basketball on teams organized by Bulletin employees and elsewhere into his 50s.
While Bill was laid up in the hospital as a kid, his sportswriter father wrote a series of stories about "The Adventures of Benjamin J. Rabbit" to keep his son amused. A result of that experience was that Bill got the nickname "Bunny," which stuck with him for the rest of his life.
Bill grew up in Juniata. His mother, the former Albina Yorkdale, died in 1989. He married his wife, Mary, in 1955, and they moved to the Northeast.
He and some partners opened the Terrace Bar on Terrace Street in Manayunk in the late '50s. He would put in a full day at the Bulletin, then go to the bar and work there into the night. Family members, including his wife and children, also helped out. He sold the bar in the early '70s.
When his three daughters went to Villa Joseph Marie High School for Girls in Holland, Bucks County, Bill became president of the Parents' Guild. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Like many Philadelphia sports fans - as well as players - Bill was superstitious. He found that while watching TV at home, if he moved behind his chair at a crucial point in a game, often a field-goal attempt, he would ensure its success.
Bill was also a passionate pinochle player, and enjoyed trips to the Jersey Shore. His favorite beverage was beer, but it was replaced later by Diet Coke and then ice tea as his health deteriorated.
But Bill was not a complainer. He took whatever life threw at him with good humor and probably a joke.
"He was a great guy and a great father," daughter Jocelyn said. "He was intelligent and fair."
Another daughter, Lizanne McBride, said her father lived a long life "that can only be characterized as full of joy, full of love and full of laughter."
Bill and his wife moved to Florida in 1998, where he became a member of the board of the Golf Club at Sweetwater Retirement Community.
His wife died in February. Besides his daughters, he is survived by another daughter, Melissa Elmasian; a son, William McBride Jr., and one grandson.
Services: Memorial Mass 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Jerome's Church, 8100 Colfax St. Friends may call at 9 a.m. at the church.
Donations may be made to the Villa Joseph Marie High School Endowment, McBride Scholarship, 1735 Market St., 3rd floor, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103.