Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Son's Eulogy in Loving Devotion

Frank P. Fusco
July 1, 1921 ~ August 28, 2012

First I would like to thank all of you for coming out today, taking time from your busy schedules to honor my Dad and support our family.

Thank  you Father Francis for saying mass and your support during our time of grief.

Death in itself has to be the hardest realities in life to face because of its finality... no matter what age it occurs, whether its sudden or after prolonged suffering. 

In my Dad's case, his passing comes with a bitter sweet feeling of knowing his suffering is finally over coupled with the bitterness that he is now gone forever.

Yes, his pain is now over but our pain of missing him begins. Fifteen years of slowly having neuropathy take over his body while his mind was sharper than those half his age, finally took its toll.
Today, is one of the toughest days of my life.To say goodbye to my mentor of 55 years, the guy that always was there for me to join in my personal successes as well as hardships. He was the one I asked advice and knew it would be sound and wise and something I could trust. 

My father was loved by a lot of people...he was truly a good man. Qualities of integrity, a man of his word, responsible, hard working and balanced were just a few of his attributes along with a sharp wit and sense of humor.
He was strong but had an emotional soft side. You can count on Dad to tear up at communions and weddings and at the sound of taps being played. The latter, something he experienced on many occasions during his time served in the US Navy. He believed in doing your best, giving 100% all the time. I can remember how many times I would come home from school excited and say, "Hey Dad, I got a 97 on my test today... only to hear ...Why not 100 ?
He had the ability to converse with the young, the old, the rich and those less fortunate. He had common sense and a sense of being down to earth...never flaunting or living life on the high end although he probably could have. A truly humble man.

At this time, I would like to turn the attention away from my Dad for a moment and give my Mom the credit she is due. Married for a remarkable 66 years and his care taker for the last 15, she was by my father's side in her younger days through the long working hours of our family dry cleaning business establishment and still managed being a mom and housewife as well. She was also the one, still by his side as she aged, care taking for him even though confronted with the challenge of caring for herself. My Mom was an extraordinary woman who completed this extraordinary couple.

Two other people who sacrificed much of their free time and helped her carry the burden of care taking for my father is my sister Phyllis and my brother in law Tom. Although he may not have voiced it directly to you because that just wasn't his style, Dad expressed many times to me how thankful he was for both of you doing what you did for him. All the matters we took for granted became your burden from midnight emergency house calls to arranging doctor visits, house maintenance, financial concerns and everything in between. You two are to be commended. 

Imagine not to be able to pull your covers over yourself at rely on someone to shave your face, to scratch an itch on your forehead and take care of your most personal matters..., to live within the confines of your own home where entertainment was a wheelchair ride to your backyard or just plain old watching tv day in and day out for the better part of 15 years and somehow doing it all with a smile on your face.
Then when someone asked how you were feeling? Replying with Tony the Tiger enthusiasm. I feel GREAT! That was his trademark answer so as not to make others worry while you know deep down each day the pain of his condition was slowly killing him. 

On my many stay over visits, I personally experienced the nights of hearing his private moans and grunts of pain from down the hall.... something he would save for when he was alone. I would help him to bed, pull the covers over him and turn off the light.... simple things he couldn't perform due to his diminishing strength. I would walk away shaking my head in disbelief with wonder how his inner strength kept him going without giving in. He would always say as I walked away..."Bono note and tutti fruitti" It was his way of saying good night in Italian and them adding tutti fruitti as a little humor to make it sound like he was more fluent than he actually was. In fact those were his last words to me on August 20th.

He was an amazing man and I am proud to say he was my Dad. He had a unique way of getting respect without ever having to ask for it. He loved Sinatra, disliked Elvis enjoyed the big band music, the Yankees Derek Jeter and my mom's cooking. 

Of the true loves of his life besides his wife and his family, was his love for his ship, the USS Enterprise, on which he served 18 consecutive months of his three years in the US Navy during WW2. He loved talking about it. In his later years when he put his brush to the canvas, it was his Enterprise heading into NY harbor painting which not only won first place in a local art show but was placed in an exhibit at the Smithsonian institute in Washington DC.

I know nothing last forever in this world but his smile and his blue eyes, his charm will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Dad and thank you for being the man you were and taking care of our family all these years. My only wish is I be half the man you were... I would then consider my life a success.

If I can be his voice, I believe this is what he would have to say at this moment in time. To my Mom ...Thank you Annie... thank you for all your help, being an extraordinary wife, mother and standing by my side and living up to your vows especially in sickness and health till death do us part. Thank you for being the great cook you were. I am coming to join you. Get the pasta boiling. I'm hungry !

To my kids ... thank you for being people I could be proud of and raising such wonderful families. Thank you little girl !

To my grandchildren and great grandchildren, your life is ahead of you... treat people with respect, give 100% in everything you do, don't be afraid to take a risk and never settle for anything less then what you deserve. To my great grandchild, Frankie, my namesake, make me proud!  I know you will.

To all in this church, thank you for coming out today to honor me, to support my family and to say goodbye. Although I am no longer physically with you, please be comforted knowing I am feeling GREAT ...the pain is gone ... enjoy your life and treasure our memories!

In closing, since my Mom's passing, the lyrics of a song called the Land of Hopes and Dreams has a whole different meaning to me now. I can hear Mom's voice saying these words to my Dad as they meet again today. 

Grab your ticket and your suitcase

Thunder is rolling down the track
Well you don't know where you're going now
But you know you won't be back 
Well Darlin' if you're weary
Lay your head upon my chest

We'll take what we can carry
And leave behind the rest
Big wheels rolling through fields where sunlight streams
Meet me in the Land of Hopes and Dreams

Well I will provide for you
Yes I will stand by your side
You'll need a good companion now
For this part of the ride

Leave behind your pain and sorrows, let this day be your last
Tomorrow there will be sunshine and all the darkness past
Big wheels rolling through fields where sunlight streams
Meet me in the Land of Hopes and Dreams

This train carries saints and sinners...this train carries losers and winners
This train carries lost souls
This train is going where dreams will not be thwarted
This train is going only to where faith will be rewarded.

Get on board Dad and enjoy the ride with your bride... heaven for sure awaits you.

Bono note ... (Final Salute)

Tom Fusco

...and so this moment NOW...

Each in heaven's embrace and love
Torrential rains falling this day from above
Heaven's tears of loss and joy there yet be
Aunt Ann and Uncle Frank in God's celestial sea
Travel they in devotion's ship divine
In eternal grace be they touched by cresting waves sublime.

Blessings and Peace ....

APOGEE Poet: My Aunt, My Godmother ~ Rest In Peace

APOGEE Poet: Uncle Frank

Dearest Tom,

A LIFE and all comes to unfold
Each day lived a story to be told
To faith's blessings gathered they their treasure
T'was love known beyond time and measure
Words in celebrated gratitude a son to cast
And known be life held in vistas vast
Honor and reverence for time and being to share
In each word be heard a son's love and God's eternal care.

Much love on to you dearest Tom.

Rose Marie Raccioppi


  1. The loss of two such beautiful people, Uncle Frank and Aunt Ann within weeks of one another, has touched me ever so deeply... they each were so very much a part of my youth, young adult years and my transition to motherhood... beautiful BEINGS in eternal rest... Blessings and Peace.

  2. This day has expressed itself in tearful loss, loving gratitude, and the very faith that celebrates the gift of time and BEING.