Two bells, “Mr. Boston”

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of Muni’s greatest ambassadors: F-line streetcar operator Michael Delia, who passed away August 31.

Two bells,

Mike, a proud Bostonian to emigrated to our City by the Bay for the express purpose of becoming a “motorman” on historic streetcars, fought a long, brave battle with cancer. Mike was always upbeat and helpful to his passengers, answering questions, sharing tips for things to see and do, and representing his employer wonderfully. His excellent performance was recognized by being named “Muni Operator of the Year”.

When his illness and treatment weakened his immune system to the point where operating a streetcar was inadvisable, top SFMTA/Muni management graciously transferred him to a public relations role he could fulfill remotely from his home. He was doing a great job with internal agency communications, including preparations for Muni Heritage Weekend September 23-24 when the end suddenly came. He had just spent a half-hour on the phone with MSR President Rick Laubscher at noontime that day.

Two bells,

Mike’s ebullience extended to making his own baseball-style card, sharing his pride in his hometown and other facts about himself. A loyal Market Street Railway member, Mike was one of a kind, and we will miss him greatly. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and many friends.

For streetcars and cable cars, ringing the gong twice means the car is starting to move ahead. In that close-knit community, wishing a friend “two bells” means Godspeed.

Two bells, Mr. Boston.


Comments: 4

  1. END OF TRACK. My God, I understood Mike was struggling, but this, like many folks I know that have paased on recently, comes as a shock.
    I never met Mike in person, we did some correspondence by e mail, recently I’d sent him some cable car momentos I had extra of. The baseball card he sent me is still here at my desk. I thought that was really creative, and was a great way to outreach if and when needed, especially greeting all those Muni customers on the F line, and where ever he was.
    My sincere condolances to his family in the Bay Area, his Muni family and his Bostonian family and friends. I cannot imagine your loss.

    Karl J.

  2. Extremely sorry an sadden to hear of him leaving us, I called him Mikey because of his energy toward life and the Muni Railway WAY of life. I’m a 34-year veteran and he gave me and his fellow operators and the Market Street Railway organization all he had, and as an old geek he made me a believer of people like him loved what he did, we held many conversations on transit vehicles and other things that goes along with this business. We as east coasters he from Boston and I from The Bronx would go back and forth on who was better, I will truly miss this individual and devoted transit buff and OPERATOR and a friend.

    TWO BELLS Mikey as you go to that car barn in the sky for that last pull-in.

  3. I am deeply saddened that we have lost an ambassador for our great city and a consummate transit professional.

    A few years ago, I happened to board the F line with a bunch of tourists. I saw Mike piloting the streetcar and told them that we were all privileged to be riding with our top operator, even before he had officially been bestowed with that honor. Dressed in his spiffy uniform, he blushed and played it down, of course. The tourists were delighted.

    This summer, he joined the office staff and started helping out with communications for our Customer Information System. I told him how lucky we were to have him on board.

    I will miss the pride Mike took in making transit the best it could be. What a wonderful example he set for all of us.

  4. As one who went to college in Boston, I would ask him, in a Boston accent “Is this Pack Strteet” or
    Does this cat go to aboway.” vHe always took it graciously.

    There was one other operator who always wore a hat who was super friendly. I haven’t seen him since cover.

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