APTA | Passenger Transport
December 15, 2008

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Industry Says Goodbye to Transit Leaders, Advocates

Over the past year, the public transportation industry said goodbye to sitting and former general managers of transit agencies; longtime transit employees; and members of the APTA Hall of Fame, as well as the innovator behind fuel cell technology. Here’s how they were remembered in the pages of Passenger Transport.
Geoffrey Ballard, 76, developer of the hydrogen fuel cell, died Aug. 2 in Vancouver, BC. Ballard participated in the 1993 launch in Vancouver of the first hydrogen fuel cell-powered, zero-emission bus.
David R. Gionet, 50, general manager of the Fort Wayne Public Transportation Corporation (Citilink) in Fort Wayne, IN, since 1998, died July 12 following a long battle with cancer. Gionet served Citilink for McDonald Transit Associates Inc., where he was a senior vice president. He was McDonald's general manager for the Bloomington Public Transportation Corporation in Bloomington, IN, for 13 years before going to Fort Wayne.
Jerome Lilly, 53, general manager of CityLink in Peoria, IL, since September 2007, died Dec. 8, 2007, in a St. Louis hospital following heart surgery earlier in the year. Lilly joined the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District in 1986, progressing from part-time to full-time bus operator, then to part-time and full-time supervisor, and was named assistant general manager by First Transit in 2000.
George D. Warrington, 55, executive director of New Jersey Transit Corporation from 2002 to 2007 and earlier the corporate president and chief executive officer of Amtrak, died Dec. 24, 2007, following an eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer. During his transportation career of more than 30 years, Warrington worked on the creation of NJ Transit in the 1970s, and also served as executive director of the Delaware River Port Authority. In 2007, he co-founded the strategic consulting firm Warrington Fox Shuffler.
William H. (Bill) Hurd, 93, chairman of the Alexandria Transit Company (DASH) Board of Directors in Alexandria, VA, for 23 years and a member of the APTA Hall of Fame, died Oct. 25. Even before the creation of the DASH system in 1984, Hurd was a transit leader in Alexandria. He retired from the DASH board in 2006.
Joseph C. Kelly, 85, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston from 1970 to 1975 and a member of the APTA Hall of Fame, died June 2 in Boston. Kelly spent his entire career with the MBTA and its predecessor organizations, beginning in 1947 and ending with his retirement in 1975. He subsequently formed a transportation consulting company with Henry Sears Lodge, a former MBTA board chair, and worked with other consulting firms.
George Heinle, 84, of Tuckerton, NJ, a member of the APTA Hall of Fame whose public transportation career spanned more than half a century, died April 5. Heinle joined New Jersey Transit Corporation at its founding in 1981 and retired in 1991; he also served the transit industry in Pennsylvania, New York City, and southern California.
Jim Donaghy, 84, a longtime public transportation professional and member of the APTA Hall of Fame, died Feb. 19. His transit career began in 1950 with the Southern Pennsylvania Bus Company in Chester, PA, and he retired in 1988 as a senior vice president of ATE Management & Service Company (now First Transit). His legacy continues into the next generation: one of his sons, Mark Donaghy, is executive director of the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority in Dayton, OH.
Clifford P. Hayden Jr., a founder of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority in Tampa, FL, and former deputy director of Palm Tran in West Palm Beach, FL, died Aug. 11 in Hayesville, NC. Hayden worked in the public transportation industry for more than 30 years.
Wayne Michael Cook, 65, one of the founders of the Texas Transit Association and the South West Transit Association, died June 30 in Galveston, TX. He also served as general manager of the transit agencies in San Antonio and Galveston.
James Thomas Whitaker Jr., 56, chief press officer for Philadelphia's Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority for the past 26 years, died May 6 of complications from a liver transplant. Whitaker joined the SEPTA Public Affairs Department in 1982, after five years working in public relations for Conrail.
Leonard Diamond Jr., 54, a consultant to the transit security industry and a longtime employee of New Jersey Transit Corporation, died Jan. 24. In addition to his service to NJ Transit, he was the first senior security and emergency management specialist for the Federal Transit Administration in Washington in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, coordinating the FTA "Connecting Communities" national program with transit agencies and first responders.

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