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Ruth's first husband, Andrew McBride (or Dennis), became a Baptist minister, and the couple founded the New Brown Memorial Church in the Red Hook housing project. He passed away at forty-five of lung cancer, and James is the last of his children. Andrew McBride, whom Ruth described as a man with "vision", died before James was born. As far as we knew him in the book, he was a pretty steady positive influence in Ruth's life. I didn't see him as a dynamic character.