Posted: June 6, 2003
PAT HEALY, DEMOCRATIC AND UNION
By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer
John P. "Pat" Healy, a state Democratic and
union leader with a sunny disposition and a knack for peacemaking in
the rough-and-tumble scramble of politics, was killed early Friday
morning in a one-car accident near Rehoboth Beach.
Healy, 52, of Whethersfield near Bear, was
alone in his Dodge Durango at 12:55 a.m., when he apparently drove
too fast to negotiate a curve on Bay Vista Road and hit a tree. He
wasn't wearing a seat belt and was thrown from his car, according to
the state police.
Friends believe Healy was on his way to stay
at his parents' house in the area after a long day Thursday of
political and union activities that took him from upstate to
downstate and were going to continue into Friday.
Healy was the Democratic Party's state vice
chairman, a post he held since 2001. He also was the business
manager of Local 313 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers, headquartered on Basin Road near New Castle, and a director
of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority. He was a family man, too,
leaving behind his wife Lois and three daughters.
Healy's life was an inseparable mix of
Democratic politics and labor unions, and wherever he was, he was
considered indispensable. Word of his death left everyone from the
governor to union workers stunned and mourning as it burned like a
flash fire through the state.
"Pat Healy was a very, very good friend, and I
am just shocked and devastated today," said Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, a
fellow Democrat. "He was a person whose easygoing personality helped
people around him get along, so he was great to work with. But he
always was looking out for the working people he represented. I
can't believe he's gone. I will miss him terribly, and I hope
everyone will keep his family in their thoughts and prayers."
"He could light a room up sometimes," said
state Rep. Michael P. Mulrooney, a New Castle area Democrat who also
had served as an IBEW officer with Healy.
Like so many others, Mulrooney considered
Healy to be just the sort of leader needed by the labor unions,
someone comfortable with business executives and workers, someone
versed in the ways of Legislative Hall, someone who was intelligent,
personable and progressive.
"He was one of the brightest young leaders of
the union movement, that new breed that would rather avoid
confrontation. There are a hell of a lot of people who are going to
miss him," said John D. Daniello, the New Castle County Democratic
chairman who also was grounded in the labor unions.
"He was the very essence of a modern,
effective labor leader. He had the unusual capacity to make people
think cerebrally instead of viscerally," said Democratic State
Chairman Richard H. Bayard. "I wish we had a million like him. We
have suffered a very serious loss, the labor unions and the
Steven J. Horgan, the IBEW assistant business
manager, said Healy made the union hall run. "Everyone was in the
loop here. He'd let us do our job. If we made a mistake, he took the
heat for it," he said.
If there was to be one way to remember Healy,
Horgan knew what it was. "He always kept smiling, even when the
chips were down."
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