First of all, I would like to take a moment to thank all of you on behalf of my family for being here with us today to remember and honor Paul. My grandpa did not always have an easy life, but it was the struggles he endured that made him such an amazing person.
Grandpa always reminded us that when he first came to the United States and didn’t know any English he was placed in the first grade at age 17. Paul met Lena, and were married at the age of twenty three, and then began to make themselves a home. He fathered two children - Larry and Barbara, and now has four grandchildren.
My grandpa has always been the rock in our family. He was strong for us and for Grandma when her mother fell ill and passed on; when any of us came down with the flu, cold, or other illness, and even when a beloved pet died. But it was also grandpa who shared in our sad and darkest times - he cried with us on the other end of the phone when we had to share some sad news, held our hand after a scrape, and made us laugh when all we wanted to do was feel sad. It was also Paul’s sense of humor that could always brighten up a room - especially when he laughed his belly laugh with his fists on the table. And whenever it was time for a visit to grandma and grandpa’s house it always included some sort of delicious snack making sure that we always left full, warm, and happy.
Paul defined devotion - with his over sixty years of marriage to Lena and how he always put his family first, making sure that the rest of us knew how much we were loved and on his mind. If any of us needed something, he would find a way to get it done as soon as possible, and always with a smile on his face.
Another of Paul’s most notable qualities was the pride that he had for his heritage and for his family. No one could shake Paul’s Italian pride - from his thick accent, his amazing ability to whip up an authentic Italian meal in the kitchen, to always reminding us (in case we forgot) where he, and ultimately our family has come from.
Paul was also proud - and he was so proud of all of us - of our college graduations, jobs, marriages, starting families and raising kids, to the smallest things such as a good grade or scoring a basket during a grade school basketball game.
I know that today is not an easy day for us gathered here - but I know that one thing Paul wouldn’t want is for all of us to be sad. While the last two years have not been easy for him - or for the rest of the family - Paul is now at rest - and most importantly he’s happy, and is the way that we all remember him as - with his accent, big smile, and twinkling eyes, and enthusiastic speech. We still have the photos and the memories - all of the wonderful ones - full of dinners, good food and bouncing on grandpa’s knee, holidays at their house in Millbrae, and making pasta with fresh sauce, to performing at school functions and being able to spot him out in the crowd with his bright video camera capturing everything on tape.
If I listen hard enough, I can still hear my grandpa’s voice with laughter coming from a packed table with our family gathered there and a warm home to walk in to.
Paul - grandpa - I will live my life by the examples that you’ve set for me throughout my lifetime - pride, respect, and devotion. The past twenty three years have not been enough time for me to have spent with you and I’m left wanting more time with you - to hear your stories, listen to you talk, and just sit in your company. Although I will miss you - and am sad that you are not here with us anymore - I can’t wait to see you again and you will always live in my heart.