By ROBERT LACOSTA
John “Jack” McEneny may have retired from a lifetime of public service in 2013, but the public never got out of him.
As Albany’s unofficial historian, he grew to grasp the nuances, ethnicities and character of dozens of neighborhoods. He not only studied them, he was vested in the capital city’s Buckingham Pond section where he built his Colonial Avenue house four decades earlier.
After losing Barbara, his wife of 37 years, to a two-year bout with cancer in 2005, McEneny was left with grief, his golden retriever and an empty house. Before his spouse died, he asked her what he was going to do with their newly-acquired dog. Barbara replied, “I got the dog for you.”
The stress of widowhood may have contributed to his heart attack shortly thereafter and in this one-two punch, life handed him an uphill walk as he entered his senior years.
“When you lose your wife,” McEneny said, “you can try to lose yourself in work…but it’s not the same.”
For three years, McEneny didn’t date and spent most of his time escaping into long hours at work at his post in the New York State Assembly.
“I was the best assemblyman they ever had because I remember doing anything to avoid coming home to an empty house,” he recalls.
But the historian’s history was about to take a dramatic turn when one neighbor introduced him to another and he fell in love with Jan.
“When I asked my son what he thought,” he laughs, “he said ‘Mom sent her.’”
Two years later, in 2010, the couple was wed.
Jan and McEneny were now both retired, had leisure time, a cottage in desperate need of restoration that became a labor of love at Sacandaga Lake, hobbies, non-profit work and the next chapter was surely headed for a happy ending.
But McEneny’s personal history turned on a dime…
TO BE CONTINUED.
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