When A President Dies

Yesterday I received an email from Donna, an old friend and high school classmate.

The title of the email was two words; “Tim Jones.”

Tim was our 1977 class president at Taconic High School.

Before I opened the email, for some reason, I sensed it was bad news.

Tim was struck and killed by a train in the Chicago area on August 4th of this week.

The news of Tim’s sudden passing was devastating.

He was one of those special people everyone loved.

I first met Tim in seventh grade.

Somehow, he, Jimmy Messina and I, all became best-friend-daily-lunch-buddies, in the cafeteria at Crosby Junior High.

I’m fairly certain, the year before, 6th grade, none of us knew each other.

I attended St. Mark’s School, Tim attended Tucker and Jimmy attended Pomeroy.

Those were the days when each neighborhood and Catholic parish in Pittsfield had their own school.

Tucker is now gone, Pomeroy is a condo of some kind and St. Mark’s is all that remains, though it closed and reopened at least once.

When I read the email from Donna I was just about to head into a business luncheon with visiting clients.

In retrospect, it’s ironic my eyes would be filled with tears, as I headed to lunch, thinking about Tim Jones.

It was the Crosby cafeteria where the three of us had the most fun.

For some reason, Jimmy and I made it our mission to make Tim, (we called him TJ) laugh while drinking his milk.

I’m not sure if he hated it or loved it, because he was laughing so hard, but somehow we were able to get him to “lose it” at the very second he was swallowing, causing milk to flow from places in his face it shouldn’t have.

We were probably joking about teachers, or other kids, but we nearly split a gut every day.

I can’t remember one point of one joke, but I do know this young man made me happy every day.

Reading the obituary was comforting, as I realized TJ never changed.


This line was the one I found most gratifying:

He was a highly respected leader that people gravitated toward in everything he did. He will be missed for his humor, friendship, and zest for life.

When Timmy ran for class President, I remember thinking, “how can this great guy become a politician, he’s too nice?”

Of course, he won in a landslide and held that title with dignity and respect.

Thank you Lord for bringing this fine young man into my life.

Please bless TJ and his family during this sad time and turn their tears back into laughter as only You can.


One Response to “When A President Dies”

  1. Susan Wicker Says:

    That was a beautiful post, Jim. It’s always sad when we lose friends from this earthly life. But we know we will all meet again one day in the other realm. And at that time, I’m sure you, TJ, and Jimmy will laugh if up once again, milk in hand! Love, Susie

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