Tribute to Jay Killackey

A Man’s Man

When I was elected N.Y. Area V.P. in Alaska in 2000, the first person to congratulate me was Jay Killackey, who would become my friend and mentor. Along with Andy Sozzi, we formed a force to be reckoned with in the Northeast Area of NAPS. I can remember our greatest NAPS President, Vince Palladino, saying, “Now I don’t have to worry about the Northeast area anymore.” We as a team took on all the problems and resolved them. Jay told me, “I am here for you whenever you need help or advice.” I leaned on him for the first year and true to his word, he would always give me the right advice on how to handle different situations.

We resurrected the Northeast Region training seminar in Puerto Rico, at the old Howard Johnson hotel, with great success. Jay was very involved in the seminar held at the Boston Renaissance Waterfront hotel, his hometown, in 2010. That is when my friend and I started visiting historic sites in Massachusetts and New York. When in Massachusetts, we visited the JFK museum, something I will never forget, Fenway Park, the Red Sox iconic stadium, and Gillette stadium, the home of the New England Patriots.

When visiting New England, Jay always picked me up at the airport or train station and took me to the hotel before going out to dinner with his family and members. We had a lot in common and the fact that we both served in the Navy did wonders for our relationship in later years. As an 18-year-old youth being away from home for the first time, the Navy stationed me in Chelsea Massachusetts Naval shipyards, while awaiting my ship, which was in for repairs. I managed to come home on weekends when I got a pass and took the train at South Station in Boston into Grand Central Station in New York. When I did not get a pass, I used to sightsee with my Navy buddies, and built up a good relationship with the people around the Chelsea area. When we shipped out, I figured that would be the last time I would see Chelsea Massachusetts, boy was I wrong. Jay set up a whole tour for me of Chelsea, without my knowledge and much to my delight. The shipyard was still there, the Naval hospital was now a unit of condos, and some of the stores were still there. Jay took me to the site of the condos which had a bronze plaque stating, “site of Chelsea Naval Hospital” and took a picture of me standing in front of it. This is the type of person Jay was, and all he asked of you was your friendship. On another occasion, while we were in for an executive board meeting, Jay, who was then the V.P. of NAPS, took the Roma’s & Warden’s for a sightseeing tour of all of the famous monuments in D.C. without getting out of the car. The description of each monument was so complete, a tour guide could not have done it better. I share these stories with you to show what type of person Jay was. If you were his friend, he would do anything for you.

Jay was the master of writing letters, something Andy, Jimmy, and myself always marveled at. I would tell him what I think should be in a letter, and a half hour later the finished product would appear on my computer screen. I never had to change a word. When I had surgery in 2006, Jay visited me, and in 2012 after I had another stent put in, the whole Killackey family visited me, Jay, Sue Ann, Linda, Helen, and Jessalyn. We always had a special bond with Jay and his family, who I believed would have been the greatest President in NAPS history. He was respected by both the USPS and the members of the Northeast area. His overall knowledge of the Postal Service was outstanding, and his communication skills were second to none. In my eyes, a man like Jay Killackey only comes along once in a lifetime, and I want to believe he thought the same about us. So now my friend, your work here is done, rest in peace, and may the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. In my eyes you were truly a Man’s Man.

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