"I would be hard-pressed not to use superlatives, and that's not just because it's Father's Day," says Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge John F. McAuliffe of his father.

The images he recalls of his father, now 76, are rich and varied: the tough athlete who still bests him with regularity on the golf course; the Montgomery County patrolman who worked his way up through the ranks to become chief of police; the man he followed around in the house as a boy to learn how to install a wall socket and rewire a room.

His father, James S. McAuliffe Sr., is "a complete sort of man," a man of integrity, strength and fairness, who expects the very best from himself and others, says his 50-year-old son.

"I've always had the greatest respect for him, always called him sir. It's not that he demands it. It's just that I would not feel comfortable any other way."

The third generation McAuliffe, the judge's 18-year-old son, John M., feels just about the same way about his father. "He's the smartest guy I ever met," John M. says.

"You know the stage you get in ninth grade when you think you know everything. Well, my dad kept saying, 'You'll regret this and you'll regret that.' I didn't believe him, but now I know he was right about everything."

"I never tell him this because I get too embarrassed," John M. says shyly. "But he's the best dad in the world."