Paul R. Tierney Sr., 84, Melrose Diner manager

Paul R. Tierney Sr. was general manager of the S. Phila. diner.
Paul R. Tierney Sr. was general manager of the S. Phila. diner.
Posted: March 29, 2014

Paul R. Tierney Sr., 84, of Bryn Mawr, former general manager of the Melrose Diner in South Philadelphia, died Saturday, March 22, of cardiopulmonary arrest at Sunrise of Haverford.

The son of an Irish coal miner from Scranton, Mr. Tierney made his home in Narberth and Havertown before moving to Bryn Mawr.

He grew up during the Great Depression and watched as his three older brothers went off to fight in World War II. He was too young to go.

But he did serve in the Army Second Infantry Division during the Korean War, and fought in the Battle of Bloody Ridge and the battles at Heartbreak Ridge that followed. He was awarded a Bronze Star for meritorious service.

While still in Korea, Mr. Tierney arranged to propose via a buddy to his high school sweetheart, Alberta DeRobertis.

After his return to the United States in 1952, he and his wife began a marriage that lasted 61 years.

Mr. Tierney's entire career was spent at the Melrose. It was owned by his brother-in-law Richard Kubach.

As the diner's general manager, he was part of a team that enhanced the eatery's offerings, boosting its reputation. The diner earned many accolades, such as entry into Philadelphia Magazine's Hall of Fame after winning seven Best of Philadelphia Awards.

The diner also drew national media coverage, such as a Nov. 21, 1984, New York Times story.

Mr. Tierney told the Times that ingredients were carefully vetted for the diner's trademark apple pie.

"We only use Golden Delicious from Pennsylvania," he said. All the tasting and checking, Mr. Tierney told the Times, was to guarantee that "customers get the same taste, the same apple, next summer that they got in January."

At his retirement in 1998, Richard Kubach Jr. said, "Paul's trademark has been his steadfast commitment to the Melrose family, an unflinching demand for quality, and his commitment to giving excellent service."

Mr. Tierney and his wife raised five "active" boys in Narberth. When the empty nesters moved to Havertown, they hosted family parties in their big home.

Surviving, besides his wife, are sons Paul R. Jr., John, Mark, David, and Christopher; nine grandchildren; and a brother.

A viewing will be Friday, March 28, from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. at St. John Neumann Church, 380 Highland Lane, Bryn Mawr, followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. Interment is in Calvary Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the St. John Neumann Capital Campaign Fund, 380 Highland Lane, Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010.


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