Editorial

A tribute to Alfred J. Cipolloni
 
by Mark Cipolloni

July 13, 2007

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Alfred J. Cipolloni

I want to thank everyone for coming here today to be with us as we say our last goodbyes to the man we all loved.

Alfred was known by many names - to some he was Al, to others Alfred. To some he was uncle or unc, cousin, or brother. Still to others he was father, dad and grand pop. To our mother he was hon, Alf, 'your father', or My Alfie.

To all, he was a FRIEND, a BUDDY, …….and most of all to everyone he was loved.

A lot of tears have been shed these past few days for this respectful, strong and reserved GENTLE – MAN, but let’s put aside those tears for a moment and reflect on the happy times, and the example he set for all of us.

In fact, I believe one of the true measures of a gentleman is how he treats others. For Dad, or Al, it was ALWAYS with a smile, and probably also with a hug or a handshake.

Even while he was dying in the hospital in his last days, his body ravished by the terrible disease of cancer, barely able to lift his head, he always reached out and embraced your hand with his and said, “How ya doing" Joe, Brian, Steve, or whatever your name was, and he did it with a SMILE, happy that he was able to see those so dear to him one last time.

And if it wasn’t with a smile he cried, he cried maybe because he was scared, but more likely because he loved each and every one of you and he didn’t want to leave all his friends behind. He loved life and all those around him.

And the measure of a man's love for his fellow man is reflected in how they treat others. For Dad he never refused a request for help. In fact many times he would offer it before you could ask. Dad was never too tired to lend a helping hand to those in need.

And what a pleasant man he was. I think only twice in my 51 years did I ever see my father angry, and I don’t think I ever heard of anyone who did not like him. What was there not to like about this man who came from simple means. He may not have had a college education, nor was he rich with money, but he built a legacy rich with dignity, respect and love.

Speaking of dignity and respect - I bet if you look up those two words in the dictionary, you'd see his picture next to both definitions. Dignity - Respect - Alfred.

And it was with these characteristics that Dad treated everyone, whether you were family, a lifelong acquaintance, or a total stranger off the street.

Dad was a QUIETLY PROUD man. He had an inner strength that carried him through life’s most difficult challenges. He was proud of his heritage and he never boasted about himself, but when he would talk about the five people he most cherished - his wife, his two children and his two grandchildren Steven and Kristen, there was always that sparkle in his steel blue eyes, and perhaps even a giddy smile.

To many Dad was a buddy. A fishing buddy. A hunting buddy. A racing buddy. A drinking buddy. No not alcohol, but everyday he had to “go for coffee” with his brothers and his friends. It was like a ritual. Why? Because he cherished their companionship, their love, and their camaraderie.

And it was the simple things in life that gave him much pleasure. His father Vincent, loved to grow things in his garden and so did Dad. After a hard day's work in the warm months, where could you find Dad? Probably in his garden tending to his lettuce, tomatoes, and even his fig tree.

Anyone who knew Dad, knew he loved to tell stories. And we all probably heard them more than once. Whether it was stories from his childhood, or when he served in the army, fishing stories, hunting stories, or racing stories. He had many. Most of the time they made you laugh, or in the case of my brother and I, perhaps it was to deliver a lesson in life, in growing up to be men.

Alfred has done much in his lifetime to be proud of - but there's one thing he did which I believe meant more to him than any of his other achievements - and that is the 57 years he was married to Mom.

Anyone who knows Filomena, Phil to most, knows she could be demanding in her own loving way. And my brother and I were not exactly angels by any means. But he never complained and always worked hard to keep us on the straight and narrow and together as a family. Of course I wasn’t there to witness it, but he always talked fondly about “the day I met your mother.”

There are many pictures that chronicle the life of Alfred, some of which you may have seen last night at the viewing. Two in particular caught my eye the other day – one of my son Steven, and one with my daughter Kristen, his grandchildren, both taken when they were young.

Oh how he loved his grandchildren. And what struck me most about those two pictures? That they were both smiling from ear-to-ear and so was he. And that is how Alfred would want us all to remember him. Smiling. With dignity. With respect.

I guess Mom always said it best. I may not have married the richest man in the world, but your Father is a great Husband and Dad, and I wouldn’t trade him for all the money in the world.

Amen Mom. Amen.

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The author can be contacted at markc@autoracing1.com

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