Jackie Lawler, 61, and Tim Sullivan,
60, died last week. This, of course, is way, way too young.
As obituary writers put it, she died at home with friends and family at her
side. He died suddenly, meaning he died while running, something he loved to
I donít know if Jackie and Tim knew each other. I knew them both.
Timís first name was Maurice, but I didnít know that until I saw it in his
obituary. Iíve never heard anybody call him that.
He joined the Marines at age 17 and fought in Vietnam. I hadnít known he
joined at such a young age. The way most people knew Tim was because of his
27 years as a New York State trooper.
If you wanted to pull a stickup, the day of Timís wake at Nunn and McGrath
on French Road in Utica was the day to do it. I was one of the few unarmed
people at the wake. The parlor was filled with troopers and other law
enforcement people who were there to pay respects.
Tim was just a short distance into his regular run with buddies when he
collapsed. His running partners got to him in seconds but, as one of them
said, he was already dead.
One of Timís sons, Matt, himself a trooper, said to me at the wake, ďYouíre
the wordsmith. How do you put something like this into words.Ē I said to
him, ďSometimes there are no words.Ē
Jackie had been sick for a couple of years. Cancer. Youíd have never known
it, though. She was one of those people who illuminated a room when she
walked in. She was always the first to say hello, always happy and upbeat,
always smiling. This was the case even when she was sick.
Jackie always seemed genuinely happy to see you.
Many people referred to her as Dick Lawlerís wife. He was the more famous of
the two because of all his years at WKTV, but Jackie had a great career,
too. She owned her own Allstate Insurance Agency. It was on Herkimer Road,
not far from where she and Dick lived.
Just as there are no good words when young deaths like this happen, there is
no good way to end a newspaper column about them.
Joe Kelly is the editor and publisher of The Boonville Herald & Adirondack Tourist and