A Letter from Mr. Urtz

Some Background (from Paul)…

From this site, you might know Walter Urtz was one of Jay’s best friends from the old neighborhood.  Walter was in the US Navy until he retired recently, and as such spent many years away from his parents in Yonkers.  My brother Jay would frequently stop over to Walter’s parents’ house, and fix up some things, and just spend time talking with them.  That’s just the kind of guy he was, as you can probably tell from the other testimonials on this site.

Anyway, on Nov. 19th 2015, I received a wonderful letter from Walter’s father, Wally, about Jay.  I have transcribed it below.  I think it speaks for itself.  I’ve also included some photos of the original 3 pages, for the record.  (I’ve takes some minor editorial liberties.)

Here’s the text of the letter:


Paul Neary:

My son sent me the web site you created for Jay yesterday evening, and I did not see it until today.  Jay’s death is very personal for me.  As you know, Walter spent 20 years in Navy, and during that time Jay was so good to us at [their address].  Anytime we needed something to be fixed, Jay was here in a flash.  In 2007 we were having problems with out heating system, and as always Jay did some research and convinced this old man to try something new: a 21 Century boiler which he installed in the summer of 2008.

On Nov. 16, 2008 I was working and my wife had a plumbing problem with the toilet and called Jay, and after working the graveyard shift he came over to check it out.  My wife said to him, “Just stop the leak and fix it when you have a chance during the week.  We have another bathroom.”  He said, “No, Mrs. Urtz, I am going to do it now so you don’t have any problems,” and he went to Home Depot, got the part, and repaired the toilet.

By the time I came home, as usual Jay and I were talking about anything and everything, ’til Suzanne called looking for him.  What he did next will be ever with me for the rest of my life.  Before going home, he said, “Mr. Urtz I want to go down and check the boiler,” which was his pride and joy.

On Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008, Tony Piazza called me from Las Vegas and told me what happened.  Imagine I live 1 block away and have to find out from 2000 miles away.  I didn’t believe him, so I called Chris Thomas to double check.

In 2009 Walter found a mechanic to do preventive maintenance on the boiler.  The man, who was a retired Sea Bee, asked me what company put the boiler in, and I told him the story, and he said he never saw a boiler put in better.

I realize as years go on how special Jay was, and very few people walk this earth in the manner he did.  Each year in November there is a memorial mass at Sacred Heart for Jay.

–Wally Urtz

I had heard of the visit Jay had made just two days before he died from Walter before.  All of us have tried to think of the last time we saw or spoke to Jay, and clearly Mr. Urtz was one of the last ones, outside of Suzanne and the kids.  Curiously, like the boiler mechanic Walter engaged, our brother Kevin had also been a Sea Bee (US Navy Construction Battalion–CB) in Vietnam.  And of course Walter is a US Navy vet.  You can’t make this stuff up.

The photos follow (sorry for the side view on Page 1–this is a pretty old version of WordPress)…