SAN DIEGO — The late CEO of San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System was honored with a memorial procession downtown on Friday during which he was remembered as a dedicated public servant.
Roughly 40 buses were in the procession to pay tribute to Paul Jablonski, who unexpectedly died on Sunday. He was 67. Jablonski joined MTS in 2003, presiding over a largely successful period of sustained growth for the public transit service provider.
Each bus followed a route beginning at the intersection of Park Boulevard and Presidents Way in Balboa Park with LED signs which dubbed Jablonski as a “champion of transit.”
A brief three-horn salute also sounded off for Jablonski at the 12th and Imperial transit stop.
“It was a wonderful tribute to someone who was not only a champion of transit, but a champion of San Diego,” MTS Board Chair Nathan Fletcher said. “He was a dear friend. He had a tremendous impact on our community and he will be missed.”
On Friday, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer called Jablonski “a great San Diegan.”
“Paul Jablonski was truly a visionary,” Faulconer said. “A man of kindness, persistence and personality. He made a great and lasting mark on San Diego in the entire region. He’s going to be greatly missed and all of my best to his family.”
No cause of death has yet been announced for Jablonski. He is survived by his wife, four children and grandchildren.
On Thursday, the MTS board named former deputy CEO Sharon Cooney as Jablonski’s successor, the first female chief executive in the agency’s history.