Alexis Colon

In Loving memory of our UTLO VP
by Alex Colon

 

General Superintendent Clarence “The Doctor” Roman was born on March 14, 1963 and grew up in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, New York. He attended Murray Bergtraum Commercial High School in Manhattan where he met and courted the love of his life, Mary Velez. Clarence began his career at New York City Transit in July of 1983. Clarence was old fashioned and wanted to have a good job with benefits before asking for Mary’s hand in marriage. Clarence had a plan to ask Mary’s father, Ismael Velez [recently departed], during a long run on City Island. Clarence’s plan was to ask Ismael while traversing a hill, at which point Ismael would be out of breath and would concede, it worked.

 

During Clarence’s long and illustrious tenure at New York City Transit he held a myriad of operating titles starting with Conductor and ultimately working through the ranks to General Superintendent in the IRT. I first met Clarence as a Console Train Dispatcher at the Subway’s Control Center at 370 Jay Street. His co-workers at the Control Center all remember him for his steadfast attention to details and his willingness to jump in and assist wherever he could help. He is also remembered by his fellow co-workers at the Control Center for the many time he used to change into his running gear during his lunch hour to set out and run over the Manhattan Bridge to get his lunch. Many countless stories have I been told of those times. I remember hearing his voice on the radio from the Control Center when I was a train operator on the Midnight tour. He was the voice of reason and compassion during emergencies using his crisis management skills to instruct train crews on how to proceed during incidents. He maintained his composure and in turn instilled confidence in those involved.

 

As a consummate transit professional Clarence always believed in the “Customers First”. He always had the customers interest in mind when making decisions concerning train service during General Order or disruptions. He wanted to provide the most reliable and efficient service as possible. During the September 11 attacks on New York City Clarence was one of the first Transit Managers to respond to trains stranded south of Chambers Street at “Ground Zero”. He and several Transit Supervisors responded to trapped trains during the attacks and ensured all the customers and employees were safely evacuated and the trains moved from the area. His bravery and heroism didn’t stop there, during several Power Outages and emergencies I recall him springing into action to respond to stranded trains to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the customers and employees aboard. Clarence cared deeply for the individuals who worked alongside him and always did what he felt was in their best interest.

 

Clarence was an emotional and passionate man who loved nothing more than the company of friends and family. He enjoyed dancing, The Mets, a good cigar and glass of whisky whenever the opportunity presented itself. Clarence is survived by his loving wife Mary and daughter Raquel, who both work for New York City Transit. His mother Estelia, brother Nelson, Mother in Law Jenny, sister JoAnn, brother in law Ismael, his nephews Gabriel, Vincent and Ismael Jr. and nieces Shayla and Bianca.

 

I could not have asked for a better friend or brother, he was constantly there for me through thick and thin. Clarence cared deeply for the United Transit Leadership Organization, it’s members and what it stood for. He believed whole heartedly that it was the best direction for the unrepresented transit managers in order to be respected and recognized for their efforts. He volunteered much of his own time for the organization and was proud to be part of it.

 

On May 3, 2020 his drive, determination and life came to an abrupt end. While he is gone his smile, loyalty and laughter will be imbedded in my memory until the end of my days. I find comfort in the fact that he is no longer suffering and in eternal glory in the House of the Lord. God Bless Mary, Raquel, his family and friends.

 

Alexis Colon