Thursday, November 03, 2011

In Memoriam: Ray Vincenti, 1916 - 2011

I’m writing today while literally “between the ‘burgh and the city.”  I’m on Amtrak’s “Pennsylvanian” from New York’s Penn Station to Downtown Pittsburgh.  At the moment, we are in the woods west of Harrisburg.

I opted for taking the train over flying mostly because of cost. With only a day of lead time, the train was significantly less expensive than a flight on USAirways, JetBlue and the other airlines. Plus, the long train ride across southern Pennsylvania is providing some beautiful views of the fall foliage.

I’m headed to Western Pennsylvania for the funeral of my great-great uncle, Ray Vincenti (pictured).  “Uncle Remo” died Wednesday morning at the age of 95. He was the youngest brother of my maternal great-grandfather, Joseph Vincenti (1908-1983).

Grandpap Vincenti and Uncle Remo’s parents, Dominick and Catherine Vicari Vincenti, immigrated to the United States around 1900.  Dominick originated in northern Italy and Catherine from Austria (although, I believe she too had northern Italian heritage).  Dominic and Catherine had five children in total, four sons and one daughter. Dominic was killed in 1937 in a coal mining accident.

With Uncle Remo’s passing, my family loses one of our last connections to these immigrant ancestors who made the brave decision to come to the United States.

When I ran for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2002, 2004 and 2006, Uncle Remo was a strong supporter. In the 2002 race, he spent the day of the general election speaking on my behalf outside his polling place in the village of Eldersville in Jefferson Township. (We won that precinct that day, too.)

In 2006, Uncle Remo also came to my aid when an opponent issued a piece of literature claiming to be “the only proud Italian” in the race. To help set the record straight, Uncle Remo went with me to a dinner at the Italian Club in the village of Muse in Cecil Township.

He was a good and kind man, and will be missed.  Please keep his wife of 61 years, Della; his daughter, Cathie; his son-in-law, Ken; and his two grandchildren in your prayers.

From the prayers at the end of the funeral Mass:

Uncle Remo,

May the angels lead you into paradise,
may the martyrs come to welcome you,
and take you to the holy city,
the new and eternal Jerusalem.

The photo above is by Ken Havelka.

1 comment:

Blue Eyed Ennis said...

What a lovely face your "Uncle Remo" has in this photo- so full of character with a smile that suggests he had an infectious sense of humour and he looks a very compassionate man.
It' sad when your links to your family in Italy are broken. I can relate to this as an Irish person whose parents came to the UK many years ago. But I believe the spiritual bond between you and Italy is never broken - it will always be in your heart, Paul. and I'll bet Uncle Remo will be still be proudly rooting for you on the other side too.
Godbless and prayers for you and your family at this sad time.