Although I painted his portrait over a decade ago, I'm most often asked about my sittings with Jay Marsden, 4th-generation conductor on the Boston railroad. Commuters relied on his warmth and quick wit to brighten their trek in and out of city. He'd often ask passengers to choose an exotic dream location he'd then announce as the train's "final stop." At Christmastime, he was known to dress as Santa Claus and hand out candy canes en route!
At the time of Jay's retirement in 2005 after 36 years of service, I was fortunate to paint his portrait and learn more about his amazing legacy. It was an honor to hold the heirloom railroad watches and keys that had belonged to his father and grandfather. Just before Jay's brother and fellow conductor Zeke passed away in 1991, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) dedicated Engine #1921 in Zeke's honor. The engine made a fitting background for Jay's portrait.
Jay is such an asset to the city of Boston, The Boston Globe ran a feature on his career to mark his retirement. I'm quite pleased to have had my portrait of him accompany that article, and am proud to consider Jay a friend. Those who feel his absence on the train should know that while Jay misses them, too, he is thoroughly enjoying his retirement!