Community grieves loss of former postal worker
MUNCY – More than 100 persons attended the memorial gathering in remembrance of Jamal Blue, former desk clerk at the Muncy Post Office. On Sunday afternoon, August 2, trees along the north side of Blue’s former work place provided dappled shade where several gave testimonials about the man who had spent five years in Muncy and was the post office’s face to the public.
In 2014, Blue was transferred to North Hollywood, California. Word was received here of his death which occurred on April 16, 2015.
Several immediate family members traveled to Muncy to witness the unveiling of a memorial stone placed on the post office grounds in honor of the deceased. Blue’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Blue, a sister, niece and several nephews came from Cleveland, Ohio, and from California, his wife Renee Blue, two daughters and a granddaughter.
A common theme threaded through comments voiced by several locals was that Jamal was helpful, friendly, and always had a smile. Barbara Dunn introducing herself as a regular customer said, ” When we met at the window, he joked and was very friendly. He made this the best post office in the U.S.A.”
Adam Peck, who visits the post office several times weekly said of Blue, “The minute I saw him, I liked him. He was a warm, kind gentleman. Once I mentioned my wife and I bought a tread mill and wondered how we’d get it to the third floor. That evening after work, Jamal showed up at our house to help. The time he lived in this community was short which should teach us that we need to capture such moments, and do it now.”
Laura Reed revealed that over several years she has had personal challenges and said, “Jamal had a spirituality about him that made a difference to me.”
Introducing herself as a Muncian of 25 years as well as a Zen Buddhist pastor, Di-En Bennage said, “When I was studying in another country, I was the only white person, therefore I have an affinity with others in the same situation. More than anyone I’ve met, Jamal had more layers than Joseph’s coat. At times, people carry us, and in turn, we are to carry them. We were blessed to have met Jamal.” Addressing the family of the deceased, Bennage said, “Thank you for coming such a long way and allowing us the privilege to show you how much he was loved.”
Speaking to the crowd, Jamal’s father William Blue said, “We grieve, but have hope of seeing him again on the day of resurrection. Thank you for this showing of love and respect to our son.”
Jamal’s wife Renee, carrying the deceased’s granddaughter and followed by the couple’s two young daughters, introduced them to the gathering. One of the girls took the microphone and said, “I love my daddy,” and added, ” Thank you for coming.”
Jamal had been a lifelong Baptist and while in Muncy availed himself to attending Grace Baptist Church. His pastor, the Reverand Teffeteller offered solace by referring to the Bible and illustrations from the book of Jonah dealing with suicide. “God exists and it’s difficult for believers to reconcile suicide. God intervened when Jonah jumped from a ship fully intending to drown himself. We don’t always know when individuals are at a low point. At one time or another, many have been there. I believe in some cases, God makes allowances.”
The group moved to the site of the memorial stone which was unveiled by the daughter’s of the deceased. Jamal’s mother said, “Its hard to hear how our son reached out to others and didn’t reach out for help himself.”
As the gathering was dismissed and reconvene for a time of food and fellowship at Grace Baptist Church, it was stated that August 2 is designated as “Friendship Day,” and what a great day to make new friends and be with friends.”
With help, comes hope is the message on the national suicide hotline. By calling 1-800-273-TALK at anytime, help can be reached and connections made to skilled and trained counselors from a local crisis center.