A SON to James and Josephine.
A BROTHER to Joseph, Joanne, Jeanne, and Judith
A HUSBAND to Carol
A FATHER to James, Jr., Mark, Maria, Matthew, Joseph, and Anissa
An UNCLE to many
A GRANDFATHER to 9
A FRIEND to ALL!
This is a man who was more of a brother to my father than any of my father's 4 biological brothers. These pictures do him no justice. They were taken last month. He was never a small man. He was always the biggest personality in the room. The cancer took its toll quickly, he lost over 100 lbs in less than 6 months.
He never left Philadelphia. He lived on the same block his whole 68 years. He was in a lot of pain, but is now at peace. When his kids gave him season tickets to the Phillies two years ago, he made it a point to take everyone in the family to at least one game. He took me twice. This was the first adult experience I had with the man. Before that he was the closest thing I had known to a grandfather. He was 12 years older than my mother and my grandfather passed away when I was 4. He was 45 when I was born, and had 6 grown and teen-aged kids of his own. Going to his house in West Philadelphia was always like going home. It was where the family was from. It was where the family went whenever we had to gather together. He truly was the patriarch. There was always cold cuts. And provolone. Always provolone. There was that nasty pit bull around the corner that terrified us. There was love. He was Jimmy from the neighborhood. He married his wife 45 years ago. He raised 6 well adjusted kids who in turn became great parents to their children. These were his accomplishments. He was never a wealthy man fiancially, but always spiritually. When I visited him in the hospital, weak, in the ICU, he broke the ice..."When you gettin' married?" 'May 2008 Uncle Jim'. He looked at me with the recognition that he would not live to see 2008. Aunt Joanne added "Can you believe it Jim, our little Eddie?". He smiled. When we were alone, I told him what I would be doing. I told him I'm doing just what my father did when he moved in with my mother's parents after they were engaged. There are things he said that I will take with me forever. In death, we find out what LIFE is all about. I told him I love him.
Rest in Peace Uncle Jim. I Love You, man.