Remembering Walter J. Treacy (1943- 2021)
On December 5, 2021 Navesink Maritime lost one of its most loyal members and fiercest supporters, Walt Treacy.
As a son of the owner of the Willow Street Deli in Little Silver, he was local born and lived his life in support of the beauty, neighborliness and education of Monmouth County. As a lifelong shop teacher he much predated NMHA's mission of Discover, Engage, Sustain, but lived it all his life.
When Walt and his wife Pat first became involved in NMHA it was immediately apparent that we could count on their wisdom and skill based on a lifetime of community involvement and education. Walt continued to teach as a shop teacher until quite recently at Rumson Country Day School, and in many ways served as a touch stone in the strange journey of shop classes in primary education.
At the start of his career shop education was ubiquitous, and while his students and their parents never faltered in their belief of the essential need for shop education, during his career many shop programs in other schools were phased out. However, Walt lived to see the revival of shop education and simultaneously the larger appreciation of the need for young people to physically (rather than virtually) create, and most of all, to create things that can serve as tools. Walt believed that tools make us human and when a young person gets to create a tool, whether it is a bookcase, a shade lamp, a paddle, or a boat, they join the human race. His mission was to have young people join the human race. This so closely matched the NMHA point of view that he considered them to be one and the same.
To watch a young person make a tool, whether it was a paddle at community boat building, or Walt's favorite shop class project, a shade lamp, is a cathartic event. It is the fastest true confidence builder than can be provided to a youngster. They hold the paddle they carved, or switch the lamp they wired on and off, and will think: "I built this. I can build useful things! Nobody can keep me from building more."
Walt literally guided thousands of youngsters through this process and NMHA will continue to do this with Walt and an anonymous donor who is generously matching any NMHA donations in Walt's memory.
One not yet realized dream of Walt and NMHA is the construction of the activity barn at the Grover House. To make a donation go to https://navesinkmaritime.org/Donate and mention "Walt's shop" in the comment section.
Rest In Peace Walt, thanks for showing us the way, your aim was true.