Edward A. McBride, 87, Atlantic City labor leader

Posted: July 10, 2014

GARY McBRIDE clearly remembers the day his father, Ed McBride, took him on a boat ride along the Atlantic City shoreline.

Ed had a vision. He could see a line of casino hotels along the Boardwalk, replacing the seedy arcades, popcorn stands and hotdog joints that were there then.

Of course, Ed's vision eventually came to fruition, and he had a significant part in its creation.

Edward A. McBride, longtime labor leader whose focus was always on the welfare of the working men and women in his unions, died July 1. He was 87 and had been born and raised in Kensington.

In the early '70s, Ed was part of a team working with Gov. Brendan Byrne to decide how to bring casino gambling to the seedy old resort city.

New Jersey voters approved a referendum in 1976 to allow casino gambling. The first to open was Resorts International, on May 26, 1978. Other casinos followed rapidly along the Boardwalk and in the Marina District, for a total at present of 11.

Ed always hoped that the introduction of casino gambling would help rejuvenate the decaying city. That part of his dream was not altogether realized as there became two Atlantic Cities, the casino district and the rest of the city that has changed little since the casinos were built.

Ed McBride, a former member of the Teamsters Union in Philadelphia, held several leadership posts in the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Locals 170 and 33, before they merged with Local 54.

In the early days, while bartending at the Cherry Hill Lounge, Ed was the shop steward. He was elected vice president and president in subsequent years.

"He was born to represent workers," said son Edward D. McBride. "His calling in life was to improve the lives of men and women through collective bargaining.

"A number of members of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union had limited skills and education," his son said. "He knew that he could help them if he were in the right position - and he did."

Ed attended the Comey Institute of Industrial Relations at St. Joseph's University.

He was married to the late Margaret McBride. They enjoyed taking the family to Wildwood, where Ed worked weekends as a bartender for comedian Thomas "Cozy" Morley.

Ed's daughter, Margaret McBride, herself a member of Local 54, said, "I believe anyone who knew our dad, if you asked them to describe him, they would use words like, loves his kids and grandchildren, classy, principled, hardworking, loyal, enjoyed a good time."

In recent years, Ed was thrilled by the addition of nine great-grandchildren to the family.

Ed was proud of his brother, Albert, an Army sergeant who was killed in France during World War II.

Besides his sons and daughter, he is survived by two other sons, David and Daniel; a sister, Regina Williams; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by another sister, Margaret May Bucher.

Services: Were Monday.

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