EARL THOMAS TEASLEY by Craig Conway
Last Friday was a day that will be etched in my mind
forever. Having received a telephone
call that it was time to say my final goodbye to a dear friend, I immediately
left my prison job in Avenel en route to
I met Earl by happenstance. I had begun a project to assist corrections officers with returning to school and Earl was a counselor at the county college in which my staff and I worked. One of my closest friends suggested that Earl work with my staff due to his uncanny ability to connect with a diverse group of individuals. And there began my experience of Earl Thomas Teasley, a gentle giant.
Getting to know Earl was one of the most rewarding
experiences I have had. Earl had a
quiet charisma and a bright smile that you just could not help but to love.
He gave of himself in ways none of us can even begin to measure.
As a Professor and Counselor at
Counted among Earlís proudest accomplishments was his
service chairing the Monmouth County Human Relations Commission.
In that capacity, Earl championed human rights by bringing together the
resources of business, government and the people of the diverse communities of
While Earl was recognized many times throughout his life, most recently he was honored by Garden State Equality for his contributions and received a certificate of special congressional recognition from the United States Congress. But I digress; as I sat in the parking lot that was Route 9 last Friday, I remembered my wedding day.
As an ordained minister, Earl officiated the civil union of my husband Ed and me.. During our ceremony, Earl recounted that in each of us burns the spark of the Divine and encouraged us to always see that light in each other. Earl was the perfect model of always seeing the light in others. While we cried tears of joy on that day, we also cried tears of pain together as we lost another dear friend in a plane crash. During times of happiness and times of pain, Earl was there.
My fondest memories though involve laughing, sometimes uncontrollably, at cookouts and dinners out celebrating one or another of our friendís accomplishments or milestones. In fact, we used just about any excuse to get together almost the exact same group of friends for we so enjoyed each otherís company.
As the traffic finally subsided and I arrived at
April 22, 2010