The annual memorial service commemorating victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks will look a little different at the local Throggs Neck fire station this year, following the recent death of one of the event’s principal organizers.
James (Jim) McQuade — a lifelong New Yorker and longtime director of the Schuyler Hill Funeral Home in Throggs Neck — was instrumental in coordinating memorial services for 9/11 victims each year, according to his daughter Jackie McQuade.
Jim McQuade died in May at the age of 75, but now Jackie McQuade has decided to continue her father’s legacy.
“He orchestrated all these very powerful and emotional memories for a lot of people, and one of them is the 9/11 (service),” Jackie McQuade said. “And now since he’s passed, people call me and I say ‘yes — whatever my father did.’”
Jim McQuade was born in Manhattan but moved to the Bronx with his family when he was about 7 years old, Jackie McQuade said. His grandparents opened the Schuyler Hill Funeral Home in Throggs Neck in the late 1950s, and Jim took over the family business in the early 1980s.
Jackie McQuade described her father as “Mr. Throggs Neck,” a nurturer and selfless community figure.
“My dad was the most amazing man anybody’s ever met,” she said. “He helped people in their lowest moments of life. He just had that kind of nature.”
After the 9/11 attacks, McQuade said her father — and her sister, who died in 2007 — had important roles in the neighborhood.
“She and my father worked hand-in-hand (for) the members of the community that passed away in the towers, mainly the firefighters,” she said. “We had a lot of 9/11 victims.”
Each year thereafter, Jim McQuade spearheaded efforts to pay homage to victims and their loved ones. Jackie McQuade said Schuyler Hill would provide flowers and memorial cards for the services, and people would gather in prayer and moments of silence for the families affected by the attacks.
“So 9/11 is big for us and it’s very emotional, and that’s why I think it’s great that we still do our tribute,” Jackie McQuade said. “We’ve a very, very, very small, tight-knit community, and we all know. You just look at another person and you know what family member perished that day.”
Although locals will feel Jim McQuade’s absence at the 9/11 service this year, Jackie McQuade said she wants to keep up with the work her father did.
“He was a great man, and he did everything for that community,” she said. “He loved the community (and) loved all the people.”
This year’s memorial service will begin at 7 p.m. on Sunday outside of the FDNY Engine 72 station on East Tremont Avenue in Throggs Neck.
Reach Camille Botello at [email protected]. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes