Jamaica High School lost part of our family as John Murnane, a social studies teacher, passed away. I knew him for over twenty years. The first words that come to mind when John Murnane's name is mentioned are eminently likable.
John was excessed from Jamaica in 2013. He was an Absent Teacher Reserve for a couple of weeks before retiring last fall. In that short span of time he made such a positive impression on the people in the new school he was temporarily assigned to that they held a retirement party for him.
This man was so pleasant that I never heard anyone say they did not like John Murnane. Students were glad he was their teacher; colleagues enjoyed working with him and administrators as well as support staff held him in high regard.
He was the ideal person to run Jamaica's Peer Mediation and Negotiation program which he did successfully for many years. When outsiders came into the school, they almost always wanted to view the work of the Mediation and Negotiation team led by Mr. Murnane. He could calm down just about any situation.
John was also one of my earliest supporters when it came to encouraging me to do union work. He was one of the first people to sign the first petition I ever wrote back in 1995 and he persuaded others to help me out.
John didn't let the problems of the school system get him down. I think the main reason he could do this was because he knew he had the most loving and caring family to go home to at the end of the day. His love and loyalty to his wife Theresa and daughter Jennifer and their love for him were so clear for all to see and admire.
Many of us from the Jamaica family came together the last couple of days to celebrate John's life with his family and their multitude of friends. It was a sad occasion as we were saying goodbye to someone who touched our lives who was taken away from us too soon. However, while standing in the back of the funeral home on Thursday with so many Jamaica colleagues, I was thinking about how close the Jamaica High School family still is. We are there for each other no matter what. That is the essence of what family, and dare I say since this is a union blog, unionism are all about.
Rest in peace John. You will be missed but not forgotten.