A Steak in the Community
January 24, 2011 9:08 AM
Every couple of months for the last decade or more I've been getting together with the same group of guys for "Steak Night." We try different places once in awhile but we usually end up at Delaney's on the West Side.
We go there because the food is really good and it's locally owned by Jim Delaney. Jim passed away the other day at the much too young age of 71. I'll miss him. He was always there and would always stop by our table to chat about whatever was going on in our lives and in the city. I had a special connection to Jim because he knew my father-in-law, John Haugsland, who owned John's Texaco on Old University Avenue years ago when Jim also owned a station.
Jim's remembrance in the State Journal notes that his station became the "local place" where people not only got their car repaired, but also came to get the neighborhood news and that many years later people were still talking about how Jim had pulled them out of a snow drift, pushed them out of harm's way or gave them an unsecured line of credit. I've heard the same kinds of stories about my father-in-law, who passed away before I ever met his daughter.
Jim Delaney is typical of the kind of small business person we have in our community. They work hard and they create jobs, but they also create community meeting places, and they shape the uniqueness that makes our city special. I hope Jim's sons will keep the family business going. And I'm sure, that like John's Texaco, Jimmy Delaney's legacy will be lived out in countless stories of kindness, integrity and generosity told by his customers and acquaintances for decades to come.