Friday, July 16, 2010


Some dates sneak up on me sometimes and then I look at the calendar and feel the clench to my heart. Today's one of those days. My father died on this date 27 years ago.

I still miss him. How could I not? Dad was an amazing man. My grandparents had very little money. Grandpa came over from Sicily when he was young and Grandma was born here to Sicilian immigrants. They believed in the American dream that opportunity was available for those who worked hard and reached high.

Dad epitomized the American dream. He worked, studied and excelled. Academic and athletic scholarships meant he could become the first of his family to attend college. He served in the Army in WWII, earning a Bronze Star. The military service qualified him for educational assistance so he could afford graduate school and medical school.

He went to Atlantic City for his internship and residency and that's where he met Mom. They fell in love, married, and eventually had my brother and then me.

Dad was an exceptional doctor, specializing first in OB/GYN. He and his partner delivered most of the babies in the area for several years. In the 60s, recognizing that there was a need for cancer treatment, Dad switched specialties. He and a colleague commuted by train to Philadelphia every morning for three years so Dad could study radiation oncology. He finished off his training in that field with a year at a cancer institute in Paris, France. Oh, what a year we had on our European adventure.

I resembled Dad a lot -- enough so that strangers often stopped and asked me if I was his daughter. Then they'd tell me how he delivered their kids or treated their parents or helped them through one of the charity organizations in which he was involved.

He was revered and loved by his patients, colleagues, friends and, of course, by his family.

My parents were, and remain, my heroes. 27 years later, I still miss him and get choked up writing this post.

Love you, Dad.


lora96 said...

It is so lovely that you honor him this way. I'm sure he is very proud of the woman you've become. {{hugs}}

Four years ago yesterday, we had to take my grandfather off the ventilator. He was the only father figure I ever had, but so much more than that as well. He went to the Pittsburgh Institute of Art on the GI Bill after WWII, where he was in the landing at Anzio and helped liberate Dachau as well. The pain goes into hiding. That is the best I can say on my end. But it blazes out at times.

Lani Diane said...

Hey, Mary. My father died 27 years ago June 26th. I'm glad you have such great memories of your father; you're obviously very proud of him, and that's awesome. This post is a wonderful memorial to him.

Beth Ciotta said...


What a lovely tribute. Your dad sounds as if he was an amazing man. And you are an amazing woman. I'm sure he's very proud. :)

Skye said...

That's beautiful. The best tribute is the loving memory his patients have of him. My dad died a bit over 32 years ago and I remember him vividly still. What a wonderful anniversary post.

Mary Stella said...

Thanks, Everyone.

There's so much more that I could have said about him. To be honest, it was too hard to put everything into words today.

I appreciate the comments and the cyber hugs.