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Former BLET District Chairman Sonny Kertesz, 1940-2019

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, April 11 — Former BLET District Chairman John W. “Sonny” Kertesz passed away on February 18, 2019, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was 79 years old.

Brother Sonny started his railroad career with the Central Railroad of New Jersey in 1962, joining BLET Division 157 effective January 1, 1971. He became a Conrail employee in the 1976 merger of 7 Northeastern railroads, and was elected Local Chairman of Division 157 (Jersey City, N.J.) in 1983. In May of 1986, he was elected Alternate District Chairman of Seniority District “G” of the Conrail General Committee of Adjustment, behind District Chairman Ed Dubroski.

In August of 1986, when Brother Dubroski was elected to the office of BLET International Vice President, Brother Sonny was elevated to the full-time position of District Chairman. He was re-elected in 1989, a position he held until the Conrail District “F” Chairman and District “G” Chairman positions were combined, at which time he flowed back to exercise his seniority in the craft at New Jersey Transit, where he worked until his retirement in 2002. Brother Kertesz transferred his BLET membership several times over the years, retiring as a member of Division 171 (Hoboken, N.J.) in 2002. He had over 48 years of BLET membership.

Brother Sonny hosted three Eastern Union Meeting Association (EUMA) conventions in Atlantic City, N.J. He chaired and ran 10 golf tournaments for EUMA, and he was the liaison officer for EUMA from 1995 until 2000. He was elected Vice-Chairman of EUMA in 2000 and served until 2005. Brother Sonny loved to play golf — especially with his pal and son-in-law John — but he loved his family and friends the most.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years Mary Ann; his daughter Debbie Mount (husband John); grandchildren John, Melanie and Mackenzie; his sister Barbara; and several nieces and nephews.

Brother Kertesz will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved him. A memorial service will be held in his honor on May 18, 2019, at the Anderson and Campbell Funeral Home (703 Main Street, Toms River, NJ 08753, phone (732) 349-5700) from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. A Celebration of his Life will be held at 3:30 p.m. Donations can be made in his memory to the St. Jude Children Research Hospital.

“Brother Sonny epitomized the great spirit of Brotherhood that makes our Organization so special,” BLET National President Dennis Pierce said. “He will be truly missed. On behalf of all men and women of the BLET, I extend our most heartfelt condolences to Mary Ann, the Kertesz family and Sonny’s Brotherhood family.”

Thursday, April 11, 2019
bentley@ble-t.org

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