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Article updated: 11/13/2012 6:11 PM

Cary man was a tough guy with a heart of gold

By Larissa Chinwah

On the outside, Thomas McFall was an intimidating figure who rode a Road King Harley-Davidson, worked in construction, loved to hunt and instilled fear into his daughters' boyfriends.

But his family and friends knew a softer side of McFall, a man who would do anything for his two daughters and ensure that his wife of 32 years had everything she needed.

The 55-year-old McFall died in a rollover crash Friday on a highway in southeast North Dakota. McFall and Barrington resident Stephen Peppa were on their way to meet family and friends for an annual hunting trip in Hague, N.D., where they would hunt for small game, said Kristin McFall, his eldest daughter.

"He was a very smart, caring and loving man who could make anything you asked him to," she said. "He made sure I had everything I ever needed or wanted. People were afraid of him, but he had a gentle side."

A news release from the North Dakota Highway Patrol said westbound Highway 11 was icy due to a light rain and snow mix at the time of the crash, which happened about 6:30 p.m. Nov. 9. The 1998 Ford Explorer McFall was driving left the roadway and entered the north ditch before rolling over several times. Police said the driver was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. The 50-year-old passenger, Peppa, was taken to a hospital.

"The thing I will remember the most is that he would let me and my sister get away with anything," Kristin McFall said. "But when it came down to it, we knew what we should or shouldn't do. He was tough but a great father. He would be that dad cleaning his gun if a boyfriend came over."

North Dakota Highway Patrol said the crash is currently under investigation.

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