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Mailman John Pearson Retires
Surprise Dinner held
March 6, 2003
On this page:
Story: He delivered more than mail! By Carol Viceconte
Proclamation from the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights Mayor & Council
Poem By Joseph OConnell
Song: John The Mailman Sung to the tune of "Hello Dolly"
Record Article: March 8, 3003, Mail Bonding
Letter to the Editor by Kathy Wallace on May 11, 2000: Heres Johnny
After 33 years of making friends on the same route in Hasbrouck Heights, mailman John
Pearson retired from the Postal Service. Over 200 of those friends held a surprise
retirement dinner at The Graycliff (George's/Moonachie) on Thursday, March 6, 2003.
Daniel Kedersha was Master of Ceremonies. The program began with an invocation by Thomas
Doktorski, followed by Councilman Andrew Link III presenting John and his wife with a
Proclamation from the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights along with Assemblywoman Rose Marie
Heck's State Assembly Proclamation. John's Postal Supervisor also provided a few
Several (re-written) songs were sung about John (see Hello Dolly version below).
Throughout the evening, many friends shared stories on how John affected their lives (see
Kathy Wallace letter below).
Patrons on his route prepared a souvenir album that included their family photo, greeting
cards, personal letters of gratitude, etc.
Many of John's family (John's mother came up from Virginia to surprise him), and personal
friends were in attendance. This event was organized by Mary Edwards and committee.
When John mention to one patron that he was retiring on Saturday, the patron said, "
So what"! It was suggested that many of John patrons would not even speak to
him during the weeks prior to the event for fear of "ruining the surprise
party". (Sorry John, it was for a good reason).
John Pearson -- He
delivered more than mail!
by: Carol Viceconte
Hasbrouck Heights residents attended a surprise party at The Graycliff in Moonachie on
Thursday, March 6th to honor John Pearson, their retiring mailman. John has
been delivering mail on the south end of town for 34 years and is loved and respected by
everyone. Plans for this evening of tribute had been underway since last September, all
communications being hand-delivered so that the surprise could be kept under
.and John was really surprised! Thirteen members of his family attended,
including his mother and sister who traveled from Virginia. Also, some postal patrons who
had moved out of town came back to honor John.
The evening was
marked with songs and poetry written in tribute to John and with Proclamations from Mayor
William J. Torre and Assemblywoman Rose Heck. John was also presented with an album of
pictures and personal notes from the families on his route. The guests wrote messages on a
photograph poster of John and dropped personal notes written that evening in a special
mailbox. Balloon and mailbox centerpieces and chocolate wrapped with Johns picture
were on every table.
evening his postal patrons, now his good friends, went to the microphone to share what
they fondly called "John" stories stories of his kindness and concern
over the years - some humorous, some poignant, all inspirational. There were stories of
his visit to a resident who was in intensive care in the hospital, of his home visits to
those who were ill and his sadness and concern when they passed on, of a mother returning
home to find John fixing her childrens bicycle, of John alerting neighbors when
someone on his route had not picked up his mail and it was found that the gentlemen had
fallen in his home a day earlier. The list is endless, and Johns kindness, warmth
and enthusiasm will never be forgotten. He had an encouraging word for everyone, radiating
his special optimism as his postal patrons sometimes unburdened their troubles on him.
The essence of
Johns persona was captured quite fittingly by one of Johns former managers
when he ended his tribute to John by quoting a line from a Beatles song, "And in the
end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." As one area resident wrote,
"John has shared our good times and consoled us during our times of sorrow. He has
seen our children grow and has been concerned about them and now with our grandchildren.
He is a wonderful man, and while he will be truly missed, he will always remain in our
Councilman Andrew Link III
presenting John and his wife with Proclamations
Borough of Hasbrouck Heights
Office of the Mayor
WHEREAS, John Pearson began his career with the U. S. Postal Service in 1969; and
WHEREAS, he has decided to retire after 33 years of delivering mail to residents on
Lincoln Avenue, Roosevelt Avenue, Harrison Avenue, Cleveland Avenue, Webb Place, Main
Street and portions of Boulevard, Wood Street, Summit Street and Terrace Avenue; and
WHEREAS, during these 33 years he has become a vital part of the neighborhood, impacting
the lives of many who grew to know him as "John, the mailman," including those
who have moved away, children who have left home to go to college, get married, etc., all
have fond memories and deep respect for this caring, friendly person who has brought more
than just the mail on a timely basis to their homes every day; and
WHEREAS, he has become a friend to all, visiting the sick, caring for a child, attending
the wake of a neighbor who has passed on, helping out whenever the need arises, and who
will be sorely missed by all who came across his path;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Hasbrouck
Heights, County of Bergen, State of New Jersey, that we do hereby extend our most sincere
gratitude to John Pearson for his many years of service and commitment to the U.S. Postal
Service and especially to the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights, and congratulate him on his
well-deserved retirement, with best wishes for many years of relaxation, good luck and
Dated: March 6, 2003
Mayor William J. Torre; Councilman Andrew Link, III; Councilman Garrett R. Pepe;
Councilman Herbert D. Heeren; Councilwoman Marlene Verrastro; Councilman Justin DiPisa;
and Councilman John Wassberg
By Joseph OConnell
brought us news from far away
from friends and family most every day
Did you ever know just how much it meant
as you delivered those letters our loved ones sent
You stopped to joke, to chat for a while
And youd always have a friendly smile
Youd stop for a while, to rest, or to eat
Youd give us a hand if you saw a need
You shared our joys, you shared our tears
You shared our days, you share our years
You were there all along, as our families grew
and from children to old folks, we all loved you
Lincoln, Roosevelt, Harrison, Main
Wherever you walked, we knew you by name
Like a human needle threading through our streets
Youd knitted our lives, made our neighborhood complete
Your love for family, and of your Mother so true
You delivered as love for our families too
Youve looked out for widowers, widows and wives
And God truly knows, youve helped to save lives!
There are angels among us the Good Book said
We just didnt know hed have a blue cap on his head
Our faithful Mailman through 34 years
Heres a Special Delivery of our thanks and our cheers!
Well deliver a prayer just for you now each day
And well hope youll be happy in every way
So John our dear Mailman, and our friend so true
We deliver this letter of our love for You!
John The Mailman
Sung to the tune of "Hello Dolly"
When hes walkin down the street
Smiles at everyone he meets
Swings his arms and taps his feet
Look, theres John the mailman
Sways his body to and fro
Waves and always says hello
Hes unique and it does show
Thats our John the mailman
And were the lucky
Hes always there to help us out
Johns at his best when doin favors
Now were gonna miss this man
If John cant do it no one can
Theyll need three guys and a brand new van
To keep up with John the mailman
Johns the best a thoughtful guy
Hell turn your mattress in just one try
Dont ask him twice just feed him pie
Thats our John the mailman
Hes quittin now and leavin us
Well tape my mouth I want to cuss
Hell wonder why we made a fuss
Well miss John the mailman
Well sit around and mope and fret
Cause our mail will not get here
Is it lost? Or is it wet? Or is the new guy
Out drinkin beer
John you could fix our little woe
You could stay and never go
But youve earned our love you know
We love John the mailman
Saturday, March 8, 2003
For 34 years, John Pearson delivered more than letters.
He started by bringing some friendly conversation along with a stuffed U.S. Postal Service
"Hey Mase, did you catch the Yankee game?" the Virginia native would ask Thomas
Mason as he
dropped off the bills and letters.
Soon Pearson was doing small favors for the neighbors on his Hasbrouck Heights route:
Bringing the newspaper from the walk to the stoop. Grabbing an extra corned beef sandwich
at the local deli for a hungry resident. Fixing a broken bicycle wheel for a child.
The favors grew to acts of friendship. Pearson would visit residents in the hospital,
drive neighborhood kindergartners to school, and help with spring cleaning. He began
attending weddings, birthday parties, and funerals.
"They were part of my family. I had to do for them," said Pearson, a Paterson
resident who is retiring today on his 55th birthday.
That's why nearly 300 current and former residents of Pearson's mail route drove from as
far away as upstate New York on Friday in snow and through gloom of night to surprise
Pearson with a retirement party at Moonachie's Greycliff Inn.
"For 34 years he used to see us in weather a lot worse than this,'' said Dan Kedersha
of Harrison Avenue. "We appreciate you as much as you appreciated us."
Pearson, who was expecting a small retirement party with buddies from a local lodge, was
shocked to see so many folks from along his route, and also his mom who sneaked up from
"What? The whole town?'' he exclaimed, his hand on his head. "Look at
The neighborhood's admiration was evident in the letters, scrapbook, and good-luck
messages from families on Pearson's route, which covered Wood Street, the Boulevard, and
nearby avenues. It showed on the line of people that formed to shake Pearson's hand or
give a hug. And it filled the dozens of "John stories" related throughout the
Joan Turner recalled that Pearson surprised her with a visit when she was confined to
Hackensack University Medical Center's intensive care unit three years ago.
"I hear this commotion with the nurses behind the curtain," said Turner, a
Harrison Avenue resident. The nurses were instructing the stranger that only family
members were allowed to visit. Turner moved the curtain to investigate and saw Pearson.
"All the nurses were saying, 'Who is this?' and I say, 'Oh, that's my mailman. Let
him in,'" recalled Turner, who credits the visit with helping her get well. When a
nurse laughed and said she didn't even know her own letter carrier's name, Turner replied,
"You would if he was John."
She explained that "John the Mailman" knew she was ill because her husband was
answering the door to pick up the mail every day and Pearson asked how she was doing.
Mary Edwards also delighted the crowd with a story.
"About 25 years ago I was cleaning the house - spring cleaning or fall cleaning, same
thing - and I could turn over the kids' mattresses but not the queen," she said.
"I needed help. So I left a note on the door saying 'John, please ring the bell when
you come by. Mary.'"
When Pearson rang Edwards' bell later that day, she asked him to help her flip the queen
mattress. Pearson made the favor part of an annual routine for several years.
"Now the notes read, 'J - ring -M,''' she continued. "I think if I just put a
piece of paper on the door he would come up. ... But that's John. That's a John story. So
many John stories."
Edwards, who moved to Roosevelt Avenue two days after Pearson began his mail route in
1969, helped to organize the surprise party. She hand-delivered invitations to all the
homes along the route so Pearson wouldn't learn of the event. The residents chipped in for
the party and many assembled the blue, red, and white balloon centerpieces. They also
ordered two cakes, one with the image of Pearson's face.
Pearson's old boss, Richard Bowers, called him "just a wonderful guy who is from this
past era of mailmen.''
To further explain, Bowers, the former branch manager of the Hasbrouck Heights post
office, related his own "John story."
As part of his supervisory duties, he had to follow Pearson on his route and evaluate his
service. "So there's John, walking around like he's in the military, walking up the
walkways [not on the grass], and I just want to get done, and then he says, 'You wait
here. I'm going in to have lunch.' "
Bowers said "zero" other mailmen he knew were friendly enough with the residents
to drop in for a meal.
Bowers finished his explanation by citing the Beatles' song "The End,'' which
concludes, "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
Letter to the Editor
The Observer Newspaper
May 11, 2000
Let me tell you about my friend, John Pearson. He was one of the first people to welcome
my husband and me when we moved into Hasbrouck Heights 17 years ago. He has always greeter
us with a smile and a big "hello", a wave from the other side of the street. He
asks about my mother and comments, on how the kids have grown. Ive never heard him
say an unkind word. Then there was the day that he greeted me with a rendition of
"Happy Birthday" when he noticed the many pastel envelopes in my mail.
And last week, Johnny showed the
true meaning of caring for those in my neighborhood. He noticed that a man on our block
hadnt taken in his mail for a day or two. Concern for this elderly widower prompted
Johnny to tell the lady in the next house. The police were called, the house opened, and
the man was found in the basement where he had fallen days earlier. He was taken to the
hospital, where he is recuperating.
If not for Johnnys
attention, this man could have suffered a far worse fate. I am very proud and honored to
call Johnny my friend. Maybe you know him as Johnny the Mailman. I call him Johnny the
Invitation distributed around
John's mail route.