Giving back is a relative phrase. Its definition varies from person to person; for some, it’s periodically volunteering and for others it’s providing financial support. For Daniel P. McQuade ’67, “giving back” means donating countless hours helping the town that he has called home his entire life. He and his family have also recently created an endowed scholarship at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law that will help students cover the costs of a legal education.
In the Toledo suburb of Swanton, McQuade, along with his wife, family, and law firm employees, has operated a small – yet quite functional – food pantry for nearly 25 years. “We had heard of similar things going on in other communities,” McQuade said. “And we just thought that this would be a good way to give back, a good thing to do. We have had a lot of blessings in this practice and this was a way to give back to the community. In today’s economy the need is especially great!”
That notion led him and his wife, Gloria, to send an introductory letter around to local pastors in February 1985, and by the end of the year the McQuades began to receive monthly distributions of food through the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program. McQuade began work at the small, general practice law firm that was started by his father in downtown Swanton immediately after McQuade passed the bar exam in 1967. The firm, now 72 years old, continues to be run by McQuade, his brother, Colin J. McQuade, and Alan Lehenbauer.
And, in 1985, when the food pantry was in its infancy, McQuade decided to store and distribute food out of a garage adjacent to the law firm building (which the family also owned). Although the food pantry – now incorporated as the Swanton Christian Food Pantry – moved to another location in the 1990s it finally found its permanent location in 2002: at McQuade’s law firm.
The firm’s building was badly damaged by fire in 2002 and when reconstructing the building McQuade decided to make an addition to house the food pantry. The 12-by-20 room attached to the law firm is now where food donations are dropped off and approximately 50 to 100 families a month are served.
“(The fire) turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” McQuade said. “We have a much better space here now. We are quite happy with the way that this turned out.” The food pantry receives federal food and money, as well as food that is donated by several other local organizations, including churches, schools, the Boy Scouts and 4-H. The modest McQuade continually praised each of the other volunteers, including his law-firm staffers: Julie Gorrell, Susan Hallett, Karen Abrams, Linda Magnan, and Becky Netzly. “Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this,” he said. McQuade said the same holds true regarding operating his law firm.
The two-office firm (in Swanton and Archbold, Ohio) handles just about every type of law imaginable, he said. “The good part about it is that you don’t get bored,” he said.
But it is tough staying up-to-date on several vastly different areas of law, he added. His wife said that the 67-year-old McQuade still brings “his books home” at night from work. McQuade was raised in Swanton, population 3,300, graduated from Swanton High School, and married his high school sweetheart shortly after law school graduation. He attended Loyola University as an undergraduate and majored in political science and history. Gloria McQuade recently retired after teaching social studies at Swanton Junior High School for 23 years.
McQuade said that he never expected not to go to law school, and he never expected to go anywhere else than his father’s firm to practice. McQuade’s father stayed at the firm until he became a probate judge in Fulton County, Ohio. McQuade’s brother, Richard McQuade, also worked at the firm before becoming a common pleas court judge in Swanton and later a federal district court judge in Toledo.
McQuade’s children, two of whom are attorneys, probably are not heading back to Swanton, McQuade said. “It’s not that way anymore,” he said. “More of the youth are moving to the cities. It just seems like there is a real draw on people not coming back to our small areas. My kids all have settled down and have families in other cities.”
McQuade’s son, Chad McQuade ’02, currently works at the McTigue Financial Group in Chicago. McQuade’s daughter, Shannon Lafkas, graduated from the University of Toledo College of Law and resides in Cincinnati. Timothy McQuade is a school psychologist in Bryan, Ohio, and Corey McQuade lives in Chicago and also works at McTigue Financial, managing the Oak Brook office.
McQuade and his family endowed a scholarship in 2007 at Moritz that will be awarded to students on a need-based basis.
“The law school is responsible for a lot of where I am today,” he said. “This was just a way to give back.”
McQuade can still talk vividly about his time in law school, where he was overly involved. McQuade was the vice president of the Student Bar Association and the chairman of the Student Law Day Committee. As chairman, McQuade was responsible for running the College’s 75th Anniversary Celebration in 1967. Speakers at the celebration included several dignitaries, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Abraham Fortas.
McQuade said that he still has the opportunity to work on cases with a few of his classmates from the class of 1967 who are practicing law throughout Ohio. And he remembers some of his favorite classes, including a Torts course and a “great Contracts course” from the late Bob Nordstrom. “He made you work so hard and think in a totally different manner. That class taught me a great deal.”
The plethora of courses he took in law school still helps him in the day-to-day issues that arise in a small-firm practice, he said.
“We can still help people around here with legal services at reasonable costs,” he said. “We never get to see the same thing twice.”
When he’s not at the law firm, McQuade admitted that he “doesn’t have a lot of hobbies.” But it’s obvious that much of his time is spent traveling to see his 10 grandchildren in northwest Ohio, Cincinnati, and Chicago. At least once a year, the entire family tries to make it to a Buckeye football game in Columbus.
“We’ve been coming since the kids were old enough to,” he said. “When they are able to get free it is something that we really enjoy doing.”Tags: Chad McQuade, Daniel McQuade