In Memory of James Herrington

Tocci Stock

JimmyHerringtonIt is with great sadness that Tocci said goodbye to a loyal employee of 26 years last week. Jimmy Herrington, passed away on Dec. 20, 2009 at the age of 59.

Jimmy was unbelievably dedicated, incredibly hardworking, unfailingly loyal, a snazzy dresser, a great dancer, possessed a dry sense of humor which struck when you least expected it, and so much more.  Jimmy was from Georgia, he grew up picking cotton and was accustomed to hard work and long hours.  Never at a loss for words, he invented his own.  It breaks our hearts to lose him.

For a formal obituary and funeral arrangements click here.

We thought the best way to tell the story of who Jimmy was, was to let his colleagues share their memories:

“The first time I met Jimmy was at a Wise Living job in Harwich. He was working on the temporary heat for me, and was lugging 100lbs propane bottles up stairs and not complaining about it. If I were him I would not have done it and asked for some help, but not Jimmy, he just kept doing it. I tried to help him myself but he would not let me. He told me he was the laborer and I was the Superintendent. He was a very dedicated and hard worker, one evening at a job he slept in his truck to be able to re-fuel temporary heaters through the night. Jimmy would come in early, work all day, stay late, meet you at the job on Saturday… Sunday…whenever you needed him. They do not make many people like him, I will miss him.” Bob T.

“I was a common laborer during High School summers as a kid, and I worked alongside Jimmy. One time I was demo’ing walls with him, and I’d figured out an easy way of just using my sledge-hammer to knock the bottom studs out. Well, Jimmy was doing the same work but busting his rear-end trying to take out chunk of wall after chunk of wall.  He was working up a sweat fit enough to drown in, and he strolls towards me and see’s that I had dropped the whole wall without even winding myself.

He looks at me and he earnestly said “VJ, why didn’t you show me your way?” and I said “I’m just an idiot kid – I didn’t want to presume your way wasn’t better.” He said “VJ, if you ever make me work that hard again – when I don’t have to, I’ll kill you.”  He held his big toothless smile just long enough to let me know he was only half-kidding.” VJ T.

“Sometimes Jimmy worked for us at our house on Saturdays.  I remember serving him and our kids some lunch. John Jr. who was sitting in the booster seat next to him reached over and touched his hand, inspecting his rough calluses with his own small but curious fingers.  Jimmy just sat there patiently, letting “Johnny” explore his big tough hand. Even 24 years later this kindness plus strength is still an apt metaphor for Jimmy Herrington.

I remember John Sr. wanting Johnny to work at Bear Hill in Reading, MA when Johnny was in junior high school.  Again, Jimmy was doing some painting at our house, so as he worked in the foyer, I asked his opinion of the job site in Reading.  I wanted to know what we were sending him off to.

Jimmy said, “Lala (that’s my name in Georgian) my earliest recollection is of my mother goin’ out to pick cotton as the sun was risin’. She’d come home when the sun was up and make breakfast for us all.  I’d follow her back to the field to pick cotton–have my own sack and trail along behind her. We’d come home so she could make the noon meal, and back out in the field till sunset. My earliest memory–seems my only memory– was work.
“Johnny’s got his whole life to work.  Right now , let him have his kidhood.”

John Sr. and I reached a compromise: Johnny was at the job site for half days.

Jimmy always had tidbits of wisdom about work and growing up.” Lila T.

“I was footing a ladder for Jimmy, who was up there for awhile, I got bored and walked away and Jimmy said “Bill, where are you going?” and I replied that I was tired of just footing the ladder and felt like he was just wasting my time. Jimmy replied “Bill, you can walk away if you want – but if I fall you better hope I die.”  Suffice it to say I went back to footing the ladder.” Bill T.

“Jimmy Herrington is a classic and an original. Yes he was. And boy, could he dance! I always looked forward to seeing Jimmy when he came by the office. His loss is felt.” Amy W.

“Although I did not have the privilege of knowing Jimmy for very long, I was always struck by the reverence in everyone’s voice when they spoke of him. My personal memories of him are that he was an old fashioned gentleman, one you rarely find these days, he opened doors for me and carried boxes, even when he was ill and I should have been the one carrying them. It was an honor for me to make his “25th Anniversary” plaque last year.” Mary B-K.

Please leave comments with your stories about Jimmy.

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