SAMUEL GAY was the kind of father everyone should have, his daughter said.

"My father ... was in the home, he took care of his family at all times, and he instilled in us integrity and the right work ethics," Marilyn Gay Edney said.

"He believed if you showed up on time, you were actually late."

Mr. Gay, 91, who demonstrated that work ethic throughout his life, died Thursday, Nov. 17, of lung disease at Lankenau Hospital.

He had lived on his own at the West Philadelphia home where he had resided for 71 years, until a couple of days before his death.

Mr. Gay began his 43-year career with Merck & Co., formerly Merck, Sharp & Dohme, in the maintenance department. He later rose to machinist inspector, Edney said.

"He instilled in us we had to pursue an education to get a better job and a better life," she said.

Mr. Gay was born in Philadelphia in 1925 to Oscar Spears Gay and Dora Mae Thomas Gay. He was the youngest of seven children.

He attended Barry Elementary, Shoemaker Junior High, and Overbrook High School and served during World War II in the Merchant Marine and Coast Guard.

In 1944, he married Marjorie Goodson. Their union produced three children and lasted 54 years until her death in 1998. He never remarried.

"He said he had the greatest wife and he didn't need anymore," said his daughter, who recalled how her dad dutifully cared for her mother, who had been ill for many years before her death.

After his military service, Mr. Gay worked for a time for the Pennsylvania Railroad. To supplement his income, he often held two part-time jobs.

"He used to say that he grew up hungry, so 'I don't want my children to be hungry,' " Edney said.

She noted that her father loved people.

"He had the gift of gab and a personality that was amazing. Everybody who met him couldn't help but remember him and love him," his daughter said.

Mr. Gay also enjoyed listening to jazz, watching live boxing matches at the Blue Horizon, and traveling.

Edney said she and her husband, Willie, often traveled to jazz festivals with her parents.

When her father retired in 1991, the two couples took a jazz cruise to the Caribbean.

Mr. Gay became ill after heart surgery in 2008, and Edney said her husband later became his caregiver.

In addition to his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. Gay is survived by sons: Samuel Gay Jr. and Glenn Edward; eight grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents and six siblings.

A memorial service on Friday, Nov. 25, is private.

215-854-5987 @ValerieRussDN