To Honor a Scouting Legend, Mr. Jack Floyd Sr.
By Richard Mabey Jr.
One of the most treasured honors of my writing life, was to write the front page story of Jack Floyd Sr.’s farewell dinner. It was a sad occasion in many ways. Jack was leaving Boy Scout Troop 170 for good. In fact he was leaving New Jersey to move to Tennessee. It was a privilege to attend his farewell dinner It was truly a privilege to serve in scouting with the great Jack Floyd Sr.
Jack was a giant of a man. He was a quiet man. He had a dry sense of humor. He loved scouting. Jack was the definitive Assistant Scoutmaster. I have to confess that I looked up to Jack a lot. It was always my mission to be even half as good at being a scout leader as he was.
Jack was my dad’s best friend. When Jack married Lee, Dad stood up for him as his Best Man. I remember it well. They were like two young men in their early twenties.
When I was 12 and battling rheumatic fever, Jack came over to the old Mabey Homestead to see how I was doing. From upstairs in my bedroom, I heard Jack talking to Mom and Dad downstairs in the living room.
“Where’s Junior?” Jack asked my dad.
“He’s upstairs Jack,” Dad replied.
“Well, Dick, I bought him some reading material. I hope he likes them,” I heard Jack say as he and my dad climbed the stairs.
When Jack came into my bedroom, he smiled from ear to ear. “Here Junior, I bought you some reading material,” I remember Jack saying to me as he handed me a couple of Batman comic books and a Mad magazine.
Jack would often call me Junior. He never called me Junior at a scout meeting or a scout function. It was kind of his private joke he had with me. It’s hard to explain. Jack was the only person who ever called me Junior.
When Jack handed me the two Batman comic books with the Mad magazine, I remember he said to me, “hope you like them.”
“Like them,” I remember saying. “How did you know I liked Batman and Mad magazines?” I remember asking Jack.
Jack smiled, looked at Dad and simply said, “I got ways.”
As I flipped through the Mad magazine, I saw that the back page “Mad Fold-In” had already been folded.
“I couldn’t resist, Junior,” Jack said to me as he laughed. I remember my dad laughed. I laughed with them. There was a strange feeling at that very moment. It was as if they let me into their private club at that moment. I wasn’t the little kid at that moment, I was one of the men. I always cherished that moment.
I was thinking about Jack a lot at work today. Jack went Home to be with the Lord several years ago. I miss him so much. He was such a good man.
All day long I kept thinking how could I play tribute to Jack, in the few words of a blog? I thought of all the many leadership roles Jack had in scouting; with Boy Scout Troop 170, on the district level, and on the council level. Jack was respected and admired by many of the scouts and scout leaders throughout northern New Jersey.
Somehow, I think my simple recollection of a man bringing a couple of Batman comic books and a Mad magazine to a boy fighting rheumatic fever, says it all. Jack was a giant. Jack Floyd Sr. was one of the greatest men that I have ever known.
Peace and harmony,