Saturday, August 29, 2015

May he rest in peace

On Friday morning, we gathered at Holy Trinity Church in Cohoes to say goodbye to one of our own.

Former Record photographer Jeff Couch died on Aug. 18 at Albany Medical Center Hospital at the age of 58 after a short illness.

A crowd of his family, close friends, former coworkers and Cohoes firefighters came together for a Mass celebrated by Rev. Lawrence McTavey in honor of Jeff's all too short life.

As I sat in a pew with The Record's longtime ski writer Dick Healy, I wondered what Jeff would think about the service and the turnout.

Part of me could picture him brushing aside the tribute, saying he didn't have time for such things as he headed out the door to take a photo, buy a pack of cigarettes, or stop at the firehouse in Cohoes to catch up on the latest news in the Spindle City. He wasn't one to wear his heart on his sleeve.

Behind that gruff, sometimes maddening exterior, was another Jeff, the one with the heart of gold.

That Jeff played Santa during The Record's annual open house during the Victorian Stroll and was so good with the kids. That Jeff took my nephew Andrew under his wing when he used to come to The Record with me on weekends and never failed to keep up with him as the years went by and Andrew grew into adulthood. That Jeff took the photos at my Dad's 80th birthday party. That Jeff got help for my husband during a difficult time in his life, That Jeff couldn't wait to show me a copy of a firefighters magazine that published one of his fire photos. That Jeff would take the time to help a new reporter with an assignment. That Jeff enjoyed spending time in The Record's imaging center talking with fellow photographers Mike McMahon, Tom Killips and Jim Carras. That Jeff was proud to be an honorary member of The Uniformed Firefighters of Cohoes Local 2562 and serve as the department's official photographer. That Jeff loved spending time with his close friends Wayne and Mary Hamilton.

Something tells me THAT Jeff would have been pleased that his family, friends, former coworkers, fellow Cohoesiers and members of the Cohoes Fire Department came out to celebrate his life.

Rest in peace Jeff. I'll miss you.

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