EARNEST DANIEL SR. didn't like beating around the bush. Tell it like it is, he would say, no sugar-coating.

And, being a former cop, he knew when you were stretching the truth.

"You couldn't lie to him," said his son, Earnest Jr. "He knew when you were not telling the truth. He was very laid-back, but he was a no-nonsense guy."

At the same time, Ernie had a big heart and would do anything for anybody - family, friends, neighbors. A genuine Mr. Fixit, he lent his handyman talents to everybody who needed him.

Earnest Daniel Sr., a Philadelphia police detective for 23 years, assigned mostly to the South Detective Division at 24th and Wolf streets, a former investigator for the state Inspector General's Office, an Air Force veteran and devoted family man, died in his sleep Dec. 9. He was 68 and lived in West Philadelphia.

He was born in Perry, Ga., to Cleo and Irvin Daniel. The family moved to Philadelphia when Ernie and his brothers, Leroy and Joseph, were young.

He attended Hannah Elementary School, Shoemaker Middle School and West Philadelphia High, where he was a standout athlete.

Offered a football scholarhip to Delaware State University, he decided to join the Air Force instead. He was an air police officer; among his assignments was a tour of duty in Bermuda.

After the Air Force, Ernie joined the Police Department in 1966, a challenging time to be a big-city cop. He was promoted to detective in 1978.

He retired from the force in 1989, but realized he wasn't ready to kick back and take it easy. He spent another 11 1/2 years as an investigator for the Inspector General's Office.

One of his favorite pastimes was deep-sea fishing. For a time, he owned a 20-foot boat, which he donated to Purple Heart in 2006. Most of the time, he took chartered boats out of Atlantic City, Fortescue or Sea Isle City.

He liked to fish with friends and his grandchildren, to whom he devoted as much time as possible.

Ernie was a history buff who enjoyed reading about World Wars I and II and Vietnam, and watching the History Channel.

He also was fascinated by aircraft, and liked to build model airplanes.

And he was a photographer who would take a camera on his fishing excursions, and liked snapping pictures of his beloved grandchildren.

He was also a serious Eagles fan.

Ernie had a sly sense of humor, given to relatively harmless practical jokes, like moving an object from its accustomed place and chuckling at your efforts to find it.

As a handyman, Ernie was in demand.

"If you had an electrical problem, he knew how to fix it. A plumbing problem, he knew how to fix it. A car problem, he knew how to fix it," his son said.

Besides his son, he is survived by his mother; two other sons, Troy and Andre; a daughter, Dionne; 11 grandchildren, and his ex-wife, Virginia Daniel.

Services: 10 a.m. Saturday at the Wood Funeral Home, 5537 W. Girard Ave.

Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Fernwood Cemetery.