By: Gary Marcella
This week, the world lost a great man – I am overjoyed that he was able to meet Grady Angelo and Logan Louis before he passed. Below is the eulogy I gave at his funeral – he will be missed dearly!
In Loving Memory – Angelo Marcella, Papa
3.12.25 – 8.9.11
I started thinking about this very moment a while back – well before the events that lead us to August 9, 2011. I wanted to know how best to put into words the life of Angelo Marcella, or Papa as he was know by his grandchildren, and I struggled greatly, for I knew some day, preferably far, far in the future, I would need to put myself to this task. I found that mere words on a paper alone cannot describe how great a man he is – and this fact has troubled me for some time. I only hope I can do him some justice with these few words I gathered together. I started to think about who Papa really was – a respectful son, a loving brother, a heroic soldier, a caring husband, a devoted father, a meticulous mechanic, a wise grandfather, and now an ecstatic great grandfather… these just don’t give you a clear picture. To dig deeper, all we need to do is use our own memories. I bet in this room, there tens of thousands of memories that we all share and are unique to our relationships with Papa. Today we mourn a great man, but to truly give him justice, we need to remember and celebrate his wonderful life through sharing these stories. I encourage everyone in the coming hours, days, and beyond to share a memory of Papa with someone – you’ll be surprised at how many good times, laughter, and therapeutic tears will ensue. One of my earliest memories of Papa came when I couldn’t have been much more than 5 or 6. I remember visiting Grammy and Papa’s house from time to time, and as soon as I saw Papa – after I gave him a giant bear hug, he would hand me a sour ball. A sour ball you ask… well the sour ball goes to show how unselfish a man Papa was and how he would do absolutely anything for his grandchildren. Melissa and I pleaded with them to quit smoking, Grammy her cigarettes and Papa his cigars, because we wanted them around for years and years to come. They obliged and the sour balls would supplement that craving for a cigar – just a tangy reminder to me of the sacrifices he made for others. Later in life, I recall ball games – trips to Yankee stadium, Fenway Park, even Giants Stadium. In my driving years Papa would work on my car, he would always try to teach me a thing or two about the maintenance of car ownership – me being young and immature never took it seriously or listened, but he would try and try again, those invaluable lessons I wish I could have back now! Whenever there was a big project to do – Papa always said do it right the first time, it will take longer, but last longer. I would get frustrated at the length of time it took, but I’ll tell you something, we never had to re-visit those projects again. My favorite saying from Papa was after the job was finally complete, he would shrug his shoulders and always say “Eh, Good enough for this guy!” I can literally come up with thousands of great memories, like family vacations to Lake George and Wildwood, tickets to Ice Capades, wrestling, the list goes on – all these memories I have to continue to talk about or they are gone forever… he’ll be gone forever, and I can’t have that. In closing, I am going to share with you a memory that parallels generations; it dates all the way back to when I was born in 1979. Now maybe it’s from hearing the story so many times I built a visual in my head and I could see it plain as day, maybe I saw a picture in an old photo album, I could have conjured it up out of thin air, or perhaps it’s just one of those special moments in life you will never forget, no matter how old you are. It’s about when my parents took me to meet Grama Marcella (Papa’s Mother) for the first time. I couldn’t have been more than a month old, but I swear I can remember her greeting us at the door in a blue house dress, embracing me and the joy around us was remarkable. It was shortly after our meeting she passed – I met her once, but my life will forever be better for that one brief moment. Fast forward to now – Papa had been having various troubles, in and out of the hospital and rehab facility; all the while he kept saying how he just wanted to make it to meet his eventual great grand children. My wife Laura went into labor a month early and on July 21st 2011, we had our beautiful baby boys, Grady Angelo and Logan Louis. Papa was able to get himself out of rehab and back to his house so that a few days after bringing the boys home from the hospital, on July 31 – he was able to hold his great grandsons just as his mother held me all those years ago. My boys were touched by a truly great man, and I won’t stop telling them the tale of how he wanted so badly to meet them, God brought them to us early to be sure we had that very special moment. Remember – mourn him today, but celebrate his life forever. Thank you!