Dear Editor,

For those of us who are natives of this lovely city and continue to live here, I believe all of us have a recollection from the past, of some kind of relationship, with Marty Barnes. All special, all unique in its own way.

My husband and I knew Marty for over 30 years. He was a friend to many, and not only was he the first black mayor of this third largest city in the State of New Jersey, but a dignified intelligent man whose heart was in the right place. His passion and his love for Paterson was apparent in every conversation as he was a leader with a vision. Even to this day, Marty still talked about how to make Paterson a better place for us all. He had dignity and compassion, and a deep and abiding love for his family, friends, and this city.

To be human is to make a mistake here and there. We all are, we all do, and Marty paid the price for his, but nevertheless, he came back still fighting for what he believed in, still hoping that Paterson could turn herself around. For those of us who knew him, we know we've lost a dear friend, someone who was loved much for the always constant twinkle in his eye, the passion he had for this town, and his kind yet firm leadership qualities. His demise is all at once both shocking and incredibly sad, and a true loss for those of us who knew him in that special relationship he had, with so many of us. Each of us who knew him in our own way have truly lost a respected gentle soul with a very warm heart. May he rest in peace.

Jackie Ross