Dennis Harding, RLACEI Director
Many Retired Public Works/Street Maintenance employees will remember Jean Low, a career long office manager and Secretary to many division heads. Jean recently passed away, after 36 years of City service. To anyone unfamiliar with Jean, she might have seemed to be just a friendly but quite ordinary lady. But to those of us who did know her well, she was a most extraordinary, warmhearted, humble and kind woman, a rare example of human excellence.
As a co-worker, Jean was always helpful, efficient and hardworking, and she had a stellar work ethic. To me she was the epitome of a great Secretary. Jean was a teenager when she was hired by my father, Ed Harding, as a Clerk Typist when he was a General Superintendent. She quickly learned everything about the Division, whereby she soon became essential to the running of the office. She later became Secretary to the many General Superintendents who followed after my father, helping to keep them on track with their responsibilities, and basically keeping them out of trouble.
My father loved Jean like a daughter. All the General Superintendents who followed him treated her kindly, because they just couldn’t treat her any other way. When I became a General Superintendent, I inherited the privilege of having her as my secretary for nearly 20 years. Jean was a treasure. She never had to be supervised; she was always at work; she knew her responsibilities better that I did; and we never had harsh words. She was my friend and protector. I relied on her immensely. She was more than just another employee; she was a tireless helper to me and countless others. Sometimes I would call her “sister” and at other times it would be” mom,” as she was all that to me.
I knew I was leaving my successor with the greatest of help when I retired, and Jean with an appreciative boss. When she retired, the division management must have felt they lost an irreplaceable asset.
When Jean passed away, she left her family without a loving mother and grandmother, and all of us without a very special friend. We will remember her always with great fondness.