At Christmastimes, John J. McNeill loved to set up his model train sets on platforms in one room at his home in Ridley Park, Delaware County.
It was a seasonal favorite for the family, something that he had been doing at least since the 1970s, said a daughter, Anna.
When he moved his family to Villas in Cape May County in 1996, his hobby became more serious.
"He had trains up all year long," she said, taken "from boxes and original boxes."
At one point, Mr. McNeill and his wife, Diane, got even more serious.
"They built this room onto the house," Anna McNeill said, "just for the trains."
On Monday, Nov. 14, Mr. McNeill, 82, who retired in 1989 as a maintenance worker for the former Philadelphia Electric Co., died of a heart attack at home.
Mr. McNeill grew up in St. Gabriel's parish in the Grays Ferry neighborhood of Philadelphia. He entered the Air Force, but he had to leave to help support his family after his father, Bernard, died.
After matters were straightened out, he enlisted in the Army and served as an infantryman in West Germany, his daughter said.
Discharged from the Army, he married in 1960 and began his career with Peco.
Mr. McNeill worked mostly at a substation in Morton, Delaware County, his daughter said, "on repairs and building maintenance."
At home, she said, "he loved his Notre Dame and Irish music."
Besides his daughter, Mr. McNeill is survived by daughters Joan Waters and Jean Plummer, sons John F., David, Michael and Bernard, a sister, a brother, 16 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. His wife of 50 years died in 2010.
A visitation was set from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at St. Gabriel's Church, 2917 Dickinson St., Philadelphia 19146, before a 10:30 a.m. Funeral Mass there, with interment in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple Township.
Donations may be sent to the church at the above address.
Condolences may be offered to the family at www.evoyfuneralhome.