AS A PHILLY COP, Vince McGowan didn't compromise when it came to fair and equal treatment under the law.
There was the time when some illegal parkers on Germantown Avenue thought they could get special treatment from Vince if they left him a basket of fruit.
It didn't work - Vince returned the fruit, with tickets in tow.
"He was very fair, but strict," said longtime friend Frank Dufner. "He went by the book.
"He was an excellent police officer and a true gentleman."
Vincent F. McGowan Jr., a Philly street cop for 35 years, a Coast Guard veteran of World War II and a devoted family man, died Thursday at 89. He was living in Laurel Hill, N.J., and had previously lived in Germantown and West Oak Lane.
Vince spent most of his police career in Roxborough and Germantown, where he worked out of the station at Germantown Avenue and Haines Street.
After his police career, he worked part time for funeral homes, most notably the Aldworth Funeral Home in Holmesburg.
Vince was born in Philadelphia to Vincent Francis McGowan and Anastasia "Stella" McGowan. He attended North Catholic High School and was a standout soccer player.
The day after Vince graduated from high school, he joined the Coast Guard.
He served on the USS Wakefield, a converted luxury liner formerly called the Manhattan. The ship spent the war in transport and rescue operations in both the Far East and Europe.
After the Normandy Invasion in June 1944, the Wakefield was engaged in transporting wounded soldiers home. The ship also transported German prisoners of war for internment in the U.S., often on the same trip.
"He said the Germans told the crew they were treated better as prisoners than they were as German soldiers," said his daughter, Maureen Bundschuh.
Vince attended at least one reunion of the Wakefield crew after the war. He and his wife, the former Elizabeth Jakeman, spent time at the Jersey Shore and took cruises to the Caribbean.
"He loved the water," his daughter said. "He loved the Shore. He and Frank Dufner would go out deep-sea fishing. He loved it."
"He was a great father," Maureen said. "He was very family-oriented, like a lot of men of his generation. Everything was family. We had dinner together every night at a certain time.
"He liked to have fun. He liked to joke around. Anybody who ever needed anything would come to my dad. If you asked him for a hundred dollars, he would give it to you and wouldn't ask why you needed it."
Besides his wife and daughter, he is survived by a son, Vincent F. McGowan III; a sister, Sister Regina McGowan, and seven grandchildren.