"He had beautiful blue eyes and a beautiful smile," Ruth said. "Very Irish."
Francis M. McQuade, a union plumber who worked on big projects like hospitals and industrial warehouses as far away as Mercer County, N.J., a dedicated fisherman, avid Philadelphia sports fan and devoted family man, died Sunday of lung cancer. He was 56.
"Fran could have been born in Mayberry with a fishing rod in his hands and a smile on his face," said his brother Drew McQuade, Daily News assistant sports editor. "He was a salt-of-the-earth, hardworking, blue-collar guy who loved his wife, kids, parents, siblings, friends, dog and the Phillies.
"When he walked away, all you could think was, 'What a nice guy!' "
"He didn't hold anything back," said his wife, the former Ruth Kerry. "He told you what he thought.
"Everything had to be done on his time. He would get up very early and the car would be washed, the pool cleaned. Chores, like taking out the trash, were done on his time."
Fran was a 16-year member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 9 out of Englishtown, N.J. It worked on large industrial projects and institutions.
"He didn't like working in houses," his wife said. "But he would do it in his own home and for friends and neighbors."
Fran's fishing career took him as far away as Bradford County, but he also fished the Levittown Lake and area streams where the wily trout lurked. He did fly casting for a time, tying his own flies.
"He often had a fish story," his wife said. "You know, the one that got away."
Fran's close friend Matt Spina said Fran "was a unique person. He told you exactly what he thought, had no filter, but in the most charming way. I never got mad at him.
"He was very funny, was always animated about something, mostly sports, was always there for you and stronger and more perceptive than many people you meet. He leaves a big void in my life."
"Like a ball of raw emotion, Fran would enter a room as if he were shot from a cannon," said another friend, John Hopkins. "His personality knew no middle ground. He ran, jumped into everything with unbridled passion."
Fran was devoted to the Phillies and Eagles and went several times a year to games with his brothers.
He loved his dog, a pit-bull mix named Finley.
As a "friend of Bill W.," Fran worked with alcoholics, helping to bring sufferers back to sobriety.
Francis McQuade was born in Bristol Township to Alice and Andrew J. McQuade Sr. He graduated in 1975 from the former Delhaas High School.
When Fran knew he was nearing the end of his life, he told his wife to have a "long service. There will be people around the block. I'm not kidding."
Besides his wife of 16 years and brother Drew, he is survived by two daughters, Noelle and Stephanie; two sons, Shaun and Andrew; two stepsons, Andrew and Tyler Edgerton; two sisters, Mary Alice Cardis and Rosemarie Porter; two other brothers, Joe and Mark; and a grandson. He was predeceased by a sister, Kathy Gillich.
Services: Friends may call at 5 p.m. today at James J. Dougherty Funeral Home, 2200 Trenton Road, Levittown. Services and interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 480 Norristown Road, Suite 150, Blue Bell, Pa., 19422, or the Livengrin Foundation, 4833 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem, Pa., 19020.