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
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
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
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
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
Amen Mom. Amen.
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