John Paul “Jack” McFadden
Longtime restauranteur Jack McFadden of West Chester passed away unexpectedly on September 11, 2020. He was the husband of Yvonne Przemyski McFadden; together, they had recently celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his brother Thomas McFadden (Patty), his brother Michael McFadden (Kathleen), and many nieces and nephews.
Jack will be remembered as a devoted husband, friend, mentor and bon vivant. He was a true West Chester icon and a pioneer in creating a vibrant restaurant scene that continues to thrive today.
Born on June 14, 1948 in West Chester, PA, Jack was the son of the late Michael McFadden and the late Pauline Meters McFadden. He graduated from Bishop Shanahan High School, where he ran cross country, and went on to study Industrial Arts at Millersville University in Millersville, PA. In 1974 he married Yvonne Przemyski, who spent 34 years as a French teacher in the Downingtown School District.
Jack began his fabled restaurant career at the Marshalton Inn. As a young man, he would often drive by the restaurant with his wife, saying, “I’m going to own that place someday.” And he did. In time, Jack became partners with the owner George Mershon. Together, they transformed the Inn’s stable into a second restaurant, The Oyster Bar (today known as the Four Dogs Tavern), and opened the outdoor patio for dining—a new concept for the area that became an instant hit.
Jack and George’s next adventure took them to West Chester, where a former shoe store on Gay Street became The Restaurant and The Bar (now Kildare’s). The impressively sized fish tank, along with outdoor dining and Sunday hours, made a big splash. The Restaurant and The Bar set the course for West Chester to become a major dining destination in Chester County.
Following the success of The Restaurant and The Bar, Jack headed to Chadds Ford, where he converted an old dairy barn into a charming restaurant called The Gables. After opening in 1997, it became “the place to go” before or after a visit to Longwood Gardens, The Brandywine River Museum, and other Chester County destinations. Celebrity sightings included Jennifer Aniston, Tug McGraw, and John Cleese, along with an endless array of other unique characters from all walks of life. Audacious fun was had by all, including Jack’s friend Bam Margera, who even celebrated his bachelor party upstairs in the high-ceilinged banquet room!
In 2001, Jack turned his sights back to High Street in West Chester, where he combined three buildings into The Turks Head Inn, a stylish urban bistro with beautiful ambiance and fine dining. The Turks Head Inn earned a reputation for its great cuisine and as a must-visit local late night spot.
Always a visionary, Jack continued to invest in the local community. In 2012 he purchased a decrepit building at 16 East Gay Street, which he renovated and reopened as Jack’s Steaks and Shakes (now Classic Diner). His restoration won the West Chester Historic Preservation Award, which lauded his use of quality materials in a manner that respected the design and architectural elements of the original building.
In his personal time, Jack enjoyed traveling the world with Yvonne—including countless trips to their much-adored France—and going on long hikes with their dog. His love for open space and the scenic Brandywine Valley prompted him to come up with the novel idea of a peddle-paddle-pace race, the Marshallon Triathlon, in 1973, to bring attention to the beauty of the Brandywine. It is now an annual event in Chester County that benefits the volunteer West Bradford Fire Company and the Marshalton Conservation Trust.
And, of course, there was golf. Jack was a longtime member of the Radley Run Country Club where he golfed “every day that ends with a ‘y’” with his “Radley Boys.”
Jack McFadden was a one-of-a-kind original. Always the life of the party, he was beloved for his creative talent, his quick (and often wicked) sense of humor, his gracious spirit and upbeat temperament, and his unapologetic joie de vivre. Jack lived life to the fullest, his unforgettable, infectious laughter echoing wherever he went, not to be soon forgotten.
“The fact that Jack died in a flash on 9/11 in the middle of a pandemic is fitting on many levels,” said one friend. “He went out like Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”
Services will be private. Donations can be made in his memory to Natural Lands or the organization of your choice.
Arrangements by DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc. West Chester 610-696-1181 www.DellaFH.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John P. "Jack" McFadden, please visit our floral store.