Thomas J. McBride, 88, a cardiologist who was president of the Board of Health in Chester City from 1969 to 2006, died of lung problems Thursday, April 26, at his home in Wallingford, Delaware County.

Born in Chester, Dr. McBride graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School, attended Villanova University, and, after studying in the Army V12 program, graduated from what is now Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in 1948.

His wife, Olga, said in an interview that after he served as a Army physician during the Korean War, Dr. McBride opened a private practice in internal medicine and cardiology.

Dr. McBride maintained his office on the grounds of what is now Crozer-Chester Medical Center from the 1950s and was chief of medicine at the former Sacred Heart Hospital in Chester from 1959 to 1973.

In 1968, his wife said, he and Chester Mayor James Gorbey had a life-changing series of conversations that resulted in Dr. McBride's serving as president of the Chester Board of Health.

"Tom and Jim were very close," she said. "It was just a matter of sitting down and talking. Both were very interested in Chester," and the mayor "wondered if it could be done."

The original offer was that Dr. McBride become the city's health officer, but Dr. McBride recommended that the city establish a board of health and a health department.

Dr. McBride headed the board, his wife said, even "while in private practice. It was a rough road, but he loved it."

Besides his wife, Dr. McBride is survived by sons Christopher, Mark, Michael and Thomas J. Jr.; a daughter, Mary; and four grandchildren.

A visitation was set from 9 to 9:50 a.m. Tuesday, May 1, at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 30 E. Franklin St., Media, before a 10 a.m. Funeral Mass there. Interment is to be private.

Contact Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or