Please patronize our sponsors. Ads with links are clickable.

bar_eleg.gif (11170 bytes)

Mailman John Pearson Retires
Surprise Dinner held March 6, 2003

On this page:
Event Story
Story: He delivered more than mail!
By Carol Viceconte
from the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights Mayor & Council
Poem By Joseph O’Connell
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: Here’s Johnny

News Story

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 comments. 

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

Over 200 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 wraps….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 John’s picture were on every table.

Throughout the 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 children’s 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 John’s 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 John’s persona was captured quite fittingly by one of John’s 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 hearts."

Submitted by: Carol Viceconte


link.jpg (109897 bytes)    plaque.jpg (78746 bytes)
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 happiness.

Dated: March 6, 2003

Signed by:
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


tribute.jpg (112543 bytes) Poem
By Joseph O’Connell

You 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 you’d always have a friendly smile
You’d stop for a while, to rest, or to eat
You’d 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
You’d 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
You’ve looked out for widowers, widows and wives
And God truly knows, you’ve helped to save lives!

There are angels among us the Good Book said
We just didn’t know he’d have a blue cap on his head
Our faithful Mailman through 34 years
Here’s a Special Delivery of our thanks and our cheers!

We’ll deliver a prayer just for you now each day
And we’ll hope you’ll be happy in every way
So John our dear Mailman, and our friend so true
We deliver this letter of our love for You!


family.jpg (48150 bytes)

John The Mailman

Sung to the tune of "Hello Dolly"

When he’s walkin down the street
Smiles at everyone he meets
Swings his arms and taps his feet
Look, there’s John the mailman

Sways his body to and fro
Waves and always says hello
He’s unique and it does show
That’s our John the mailman

And we’re the lucky neighbors
He’s always there to help us out
John’s at his best when doin favors

Now we’re gonna miss this man
If John can’t do it no one can
They’ll need three guys and a brand new van
To keep up with John the mailman

John’s the best a thoughtful guy
He’ll turn your mattress in just one try
Don’t ask him twice just feed him pie
That’s our John the mailman

He’s quittin now and leavin’ us
Well tape my mouth I want to cuss
He’ll wonder why we made a fuss
We’ll miss John the mailman

We’ll 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 you’ve earned our love you know
We love John the mailman


Mail bonding
The Record, 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 sack.

"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 Virginia.

"What? The whole town?'' he exclaimed, his hand on his head. "Look at this."

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 night.

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

Here’s Johnny

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. I’ve 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 hadn’t 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 Johnny’s 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 Hero.

Kathy Wallace

mail1.jpg (43207 bytes)
Invitation distributed around John's mail route.


Thank you for visiting our hometown.  Come back soon!
[The Gazette Newspaper] [Contact Webmaster] [Policy Statement] [Advertising information]  
©Copyright 1998-2008. All rights reserved.
All photographs used in this web-site are copyrighted and property of the photographer.
Photographs used herein are on loan and are not public domain 
Site created and maintained by
The Iron Horse Advertising & Marketing Co. Inc.
in collaboration with SAK Information Systems, LLC

The Gazette Newspaper Movies Stuff