Michael Stone, who works at Mama's on the Half Shell and… (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore…)
A mourner showed up decked out in full Elvis splendor.
A beer truck emblazoned with the Mr. Boh logo led the funeral procession.
And more than 2,000 people packed the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen — it was standing-room-only in the rear vestibule and the transepts — to mourn Nacho Mama's owner Patrick "Scunny" McCusker and, as one longtime friend said, to put the "fun in funeral."
"This is what Scunny would have wanted — an audience," said Sean Leahy, who spoke Wednesday at the Mass for the Canton restaurateur hailed for his camaraderie, his philanthropy and his drive to revitalize the neighborhood.
McCusker, 49, died Friday night after the bicycle he was riding collided with a municipal bus on Coastal Highway in Ocean City. Ocean City police said Wednesday that the investigation would take several weeks.
McCusker lived in Cockeysville with his wife and two children. He was perhaps best known as the owner of Nacho Mama's, the Tex-Mex restaurant he opened in 1994 on O'Donnell Square in Canton, when the now-popular neighborhood was unfamiliar territory.
In the days and nights since his death, McCusker has been remembered by his friends, employees and customers for his charitable efforts and outsize personality. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake — who attended the funeral — and U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin issued announcements praising McCusker's business acumen and philanthropy. Olympian Michael Phelps praised McCusker in a Tweet as a true "restaurant visionary."
On Wednesday, fellow restaurant owners and chefs turned out, including Karin and Bud Tiffany of Peter's Inn, Sascha Wohlhandler of Sascha's 527 and Annmarie Langton and Tom Looney of the Gypsy Queen food trucks. The entire seventh- and eighth-grade classes of the Friends School of Baltimore, which McCusker's daughter attends, were on hand. Employees of Nacho Mama's and its sister restaurant, Mama's on the Half Shell, arrived in a yellow school bus, wearing green carnations.
Among the eulogists was Brian Morrison, president of Believe in Tomorrow National Children's Foundation, which houses and supports families of children who travel to Baltimore for medical treatment. McCusker had joined the board and, over the years, delivered 16,000 meals to the charity's beneficiaries.
"His greatest attribute was an intuition he used to make each of us feel special," Morrison said. "He was a great connector of people."
It was McCusker's intuition that made him a good businessman and a great friend, he said.
"If I am ever asked who my hero is," Morrison said, "I am going to say, 'Let me tell you about Patrick "Scunny" McCusker.'"
The solemnity of the funeral Mass contrasted with the irreverence of pallbearers in T-shirts featuring the National Bohemian beer icon shedding a tear and the humorous recollections of the three eulogists.
"He was my favorite person in the whole world," said his 13-year-old daughter, Darby McCusker, to the assembled. "He was always there," she added, "to embarrass us at dances."
Leahy described McCusker's humor and sense of the outrageous, which included throwing a birthday dinner for his dog in a posh Ocean City restaurant. He also outlined a meeting in heaven, as he imagined it, between McCusker and astronaut Neil Armstrong, who died Saturday:
"The two of them are just getting inside the pearly gates.
"Scunny's introducing himself, and [Armstrong is] introducing himself, and [they're] looking at each other.
"And Scunny says, 'First man on the moon? That's all you got?'"
On Wednesday evening, hundreds also gathered on Canton's O'Donnell Square, where a stage had been set up. Retired Elvis impersonator Terry McCready made good on a promise to McCusker to perform. Restaurants and bars around the square had pledged to donate 30 percent of their profits that night to Believe in Tomorrow.
Inside Nacho Mama's, customers were five deep at the bar. Newlyweds Nora, 35, and Joel Miller, 28, were paying their respects. Joel Miller had been introduced to Nacho Mama's by his father, a longtime friend of Scunny's.
"I had my senior prom dinner here, and Scunny painted the Elvis statue in my school colors" — Catonsville blue and gold, Joel Miller said. "I feel really fortunate to have known him."
About 1,000 people also went to viewings Monday and Tuesday at the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, where a tailgate-style gathering welcomed visitors including Gov. Martin O'Malley, according to owner Robert Mitchell.
The traditional prayer card made available to visitors had on its back a coupon for a free drink at Nacho Mama's or Mama's on the Half Shell.
"Have one last drink on Scunny," it said.
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