Two years ago, it was a beautiful day, much as today was. I was walking home from LatteGirl’s Pre-K program pulling her behind me in her red wagon, when I got the phone call from my sister. “Dad is not doing well, he may not make it.”
I frantically rushed home. I couldn’t get a hold of my wife. I started dialing everybody and anybody I could think of to watch after LatteGirl so I could get to the hospital. Finally I got ahold of my sister-in-law who was not only able to watch after LatteGirl, but gave me a ride to the hospital.
Rushing in, I frantically looked for somebody to tell me my father’s whereabouts. I got pointed to a ICU area behind a white curtain. I ran over.
I was too late.
I would never get my opportunity to say good-bye.
By most standards he was just an ordinary man, who lived an ordinary life in an ordinary town. But to those lives he touched he was anything but ordinary.
- He served in the Korean War (and only just before his death did I find out, he worked Special Ops for the CIA).
- He was very patriotic and proud of the United States and respectful of the Flag.
- He worked at Western Electric/AT&T/Lucent for 36 years
- Volunteered in a soup kitchen for almost 10 years after his retirement, and only stopped because of health issues that did not allow him to continue.
- Continued to raise money for the Soup Kitchen up through the time of his death.
- Helped raise money and acquire funding for the local library
- Was a primary organizer of the local chapter of “Pioneers” (organization of retired “Bell” employees).
- Was always their to make signs, volunteer, etc for the needs of his church
- Raised money for Disabled American Veterans
- Was a 3 time commander of his post of the Catholic War Veterans
- Collected and raised money for POW-MIA’s and their families
- Still had time for his family, attend my and my sister’s little league games, sporting events, play performances, recitals, etc.
and believe it or not… much more.
They say time heals all wounds, but two years later, while life goes on, I don’t feel any more healed. He was more than just a father, he was a statesman, a mentor, a guide for me to learn from and try to live up to, thought I doubt I ever can. And a part of me still feels missing and empty.
Rest in Peace.
Joseph P. Romeo
1928 – 2004