His fellow New England operators and New England Livery Association (NELA) board of directors and members were soon joined in their fond—and often poignantly humorous—remembrances of Jerry as industry representatives from all corners of North America shared their own stories, photos, and profound sadness over the New Hampshire legend’s passing. At just 60 years old, his too-soon death stood in stark contrast to the holiday season.
“I feel like I never had a chance to say goodbye,” Arthur Messina of Create-A-Card observed regretfully. “I had just talked to him days before he passed.”
The immediate outpouring of emotional reactions on Facebook and in intimate conversations went on for days, heartbreakingly highlighting how Jerry’s friends, affiliates, and transportation peers across the country were reeling from the void his sudden passing created.
“His loyalty and generosity knew no bounds,” wrote Barry Gross of Reston Limousine. “Jerry was a larger-than-life character, a tall, elegantly dressed ball-buster, with a Boston accent thicker than clam chowdah, and a love of life’s finest things. He was first class in everything he did and I will miss him every day.”
“His loyalty and generosity knew no bounds...He was first class in everything he did and I will miss him every day.” – Barry Gross of Reston Limousine"
“The absolute last thing that I expected to read was that my dear friend Jerry had passed,” added Michael Callahan of Able Limousine and NELA president, who received the news from Jerry’s nephew via text message instead of the good-natured joke he usually received from Jerry’s number. “I mourn the loss of a very, very dear friend but I will never lose the memories that we shared together.”
Jerry’s dedication to the industry was steadfast, as evidenced by his willingness to help out anyone who asked and his role as a director with NELA.
“If he couldn’t participate in a committee endeavor, he’d be right there writing a check to support it,” said NELA Executive Director Rick Szilagyi. “He was very much about giving back to the community. We had actually talked about having Jerry give a presentation at a quarterly meeting about ways to give back.”
In addition to giving his time and dedication to chauffeured ground transportation, Jerry was a steadfast advocate of various social and community causes, demonstrated by his support of numerous charitable endeavors, too. Among them: He served on the board of directors for the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NHSPCA), and had been honored by the NBA’s Boston Celtics in 2013 for his work with their Heroes Among Us program, to which he offered free transportation for the award’s recipients since 2007. In August, he was recognized at the Massachusetts State House for his service to the charity.
While Jerry’s seemingly limitless capacity for giving was a hallmark of his persona, his industry family will remember his friendship and his personality most of all.
“There are so many stories and so many great memories that we shared,” Callahan said. “Every time we got together, we would retell them and just laugh and laugh and laugh, just as we did just weeks ago in Atlantic City. I will miss those days more than he could ever imagine. Although way too soon, the man upstairs got a good one, one of the best.”
Jerry was remembered in a December 1 ceremony at Goldman Funeral Chapel in his former home of Malden, Mass., before interment at Lebanon Tifereth Israel Cemetery in Peabody, Mass. His family—wife Janet, brother Arthur, and sister-in-law Linda—asked that donations be made in his memory to the NHSPCA he ardently supported, which can be sent to 104 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham, N.H., 03885. [CD0117]