Wednesday, April 10, 2019

James Nagle: A True Mentor and Friend

Once again, our community has lost a true example of what public service should be.  James Nagle was a good husband to his wife, Barbara, a good father, grandfather, and a true public servant.  He entered public office in the right way.  After a career in the private sector, he wanted to give back to his community.  He started at the village level in East Rochester, then moved to the Monroe County Legislature, and then finished up his career as a member of the New York State Assembly.  He was my mentor and more importantly, my friend.

He spent his career in Albany on the minority side of the chambers, yet gained the respect of many of his colleagues on the majority side.  He always conducted himself in a respectable way, and he showed what politics was truly about—the friendly art of compromise.  He would disagree with his colleagues, but never made enemies.  I think all of us can appreciate that about him, especially since that is missing in most of our politics today.  He wanted to serve his constituents and help make their lives better.  He held the position of elective office to a higher standard and had a true desire to serve his fellow man.  

I remember how when we would travel to Albany together, he would sing to me Irish songs of rebellion.  But what I remember most is how much he was there for me during one of the lowest valleys of my life; when my daughter, Teddi, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.  Like most parents, I worked to try and make my children’s lives better than my own: to make sure my children could play the sports they wanted, have the best wedding; and when Teddi was diagnosed with cancer, none of those things mattered anymore, I just wanted to be home with her, spending the time with her that I had missed while traveling back and forth to Albany for my job. 

Jim was very supportive of me during Teddi’s battle with cancer and is also one of the people who, without their help, Camp Good Days would have never been born.  When I started Camp Good Days to give my daughter, Teddi, and 62 other children who were all dealing with cancer an experience that was not available to them, an overnight camping experience, Jim was right there with me, helping me along the way.  To me, Camp Good Days and the 48,300 campers from 22 states and 36 countries who we have helped over these 40 years will always be a part of Jim’s legacy.  He was an example of the right way to be a public servant, a boss, a mentor, and a good friend; and I, and this community will miss him very much.