Athletic standout and community leader Patrick James "Jim" Fahey died Thursday at age 85.
"I call him one of the greatest generation," said his son, James T. Fahey, owner of Hub City Builders. "I consider him my best friend. He was a great influence in my life. He was a great father and very devoted Catholic."
The elder Fahey died at Julia Manor Health Care Center following a long and fulfilling life, according to his obituary. He was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church and also St. Ann Catholic Church, his son said.
"He was quite a friendly fella. Most thought very highly of him," said Irv Easterday, former Hagerstown Junior College athletic director.
Easterday said he met Fahey through playing handball at the old Hagerstown YMCA.
"He was one of the top handball players in the country," Easterday said.
Fahey was inducted into the Washington County Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year for handball.
The elder Fahey was a standout athlete since high school.
Known as a three-sport athlete, he excelled in football, basketball and baseball at LaSalle High School in Cumberland, Md., according to his obituary.
After serving in the Navy during World War II, he continued to shine in sports at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., where he lettered in football, basketball and baseball, his obituary said.
While he went on to play professional football for the Jersey City Giants of the American Football League, the highlight of his professional career was his 30 years as president of Creasey Co., a wholesale grocery and food distributor, according to his obituary.
Bill Lightner of Hagerstown said he met Fahey through Fahey's work at Creasey Co.
"I was a salesman and I would call him to get him to push my product," Lightner said, referring to S&H Green Stamps.
"We were good friends," Lightner said. "He was a very sincere guy. He told you what he thought. He was a good man."
The younger Fahey said his father would not ask someone to do something that he himself would not do.
In the early 1970s, when the company was on Franklin Street, most of the building burned down, the younger Fahey said.
"It was pretty devastating, almost brought about the end of the company," he said. "He was determined to not allow that to happen."
The elder Fahey persevered, and the company later enjoyed significant growth, he said.
A committed community leader, the elder Fahey served as president of the Hagerstown YMCA board, vice president of the United Way of Washington County, and in leadership roles for other service clubs and business organizations, including the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, according to his obituary.
He was inducted into the Western Maryland Catholic Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Washington and Lee Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.