LAWRENCE — Timothy Buckley respected his Irish heritage, loved his South Lawrence family and was fiercely proud of his brother John Buckley, the city’s longest running mayor.The Lawrencian worked for the 35 years as the city’s tax collector. And for years, he ran the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.But Buckley, who died Monday at age 90, also owned a spot in local newspaper history. At age 14, his “likeable Irish smile” landed him a job as the model for the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune’s neon “paperboy sign” that hung over Essex Street for years. Today, the restored sign is still located at The Eagle-Tribune’s headquarters on Route 114 in North Andover.”Anyone who glances up at The Eagle-Tribune sign outside the building on Essex Street can see Timothy Buckley’s happy smile permanently caught in electric lights,” reads a 1939 Eagle-Tribune article.Family friend and Haverhill School Superintendent James Scully remembered Buckley as a great family man and “consummate Irishman.”"Everyone knew him … His family was active in the city for years and years,” Scully said.Longtime friend John Fention, a retired state judge, agreed. “He was a great Irishman. He was so proud of his ancestry,” he said.Former Mayor Kevin Sullivan said despite his job as tax collector, “which is not the most popular job in the city,” Buckley was adored city-wide.”People really loved him,” Sullivan said. “He was very close with his brother John. Tim was one of his truest political allies. The Buckley dynasty was a family event … Tim could make things happen. He had quite a number of friends.”Fenton agreed that Buckley “revered his brother John.” “He worked hard to get him elected. All the Buckleys did,” he said.Buckley was born in Lawrence in April 4, 1921. He was one of eight children — five boys and three girls. His father, police officer John Buckley, died at age 42. Buckley and his five brothers were all Eagle-Tribune paper carriers. They would turn their earnings over to their mother, who in turn gave them allowances for movies and treats.”We had a wonderful mother. We never felt poor,” Tim Buckley said of his mother, Julia, during a November 1988 interview with former Eagle-Tribune reporter Chris Young.He attended St. Patrick’s School and was a member of Central Catholic High School first graduating class in 1939. After graduation, he hoped to become a priest but had to leave the seminary due to serious hearing loss.”I always had an ambition to be a priest,” he told Young. Two of Buckley’s sisters became nuns.Buckley married Rita Surrette in 1945 and they had five sons; Timothy, Kevin, Bernard, Joseph and John. In 1957, Buckley was unanimously named city tax collector by the city council. His starting salary was $5,299, according to an Aug. 26, 1957 Eagle-Tribune story about his appointment. The story also mentions that Buckley “was the Eagle-Tribune newspaper boy who posed for the electric sign.”When he retired in 1983, Buckley moved to Salisbury Beach.”I want to enjoy my life, my grandchildren and my family,” he told the Eagle-Tribune then.Funeral arrangements are being handled by the John Breen Funeral Home of Lawrence.• • •Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screen name EagleTribJill. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.