by Louis J Girifalco
Everyone is apologizing for our loss, but this is a celebration of life that brought us all together today, and that’s nothing to be sorry for.
1 Pumpkin StoryI’ll start with a story that epitomizes my relationship with my grandfather, which is centered around pumpkins. Your story will be different based on your relationship but if you think back on it, I’m sure you can find one.. (mine just happens to be about pumpkins)
2 No Kicking RuleI was about 6 years old and the family went to Linville orchards, where they had pumpkins all laid out for sale. I was following Grandpa telling me what always seemed an endless amount of stories, as he does, and I’m just kicking over every pumpkin while my dad videotapes the whole thing. Grandpa seemed to allow the bad behavior, as if I was some exception to the ‘no kicking over pumpkins’ rule.
3 Center of The UniverseThat’s how I interpreted it, but it’s equally possibility is that he was oblivious to it.. caught up in whatever he was saying. He told me he when he fell in love with Grandma he learned that he wasn’t the center of the universe but I don’t think he was ever able to totally shake that feeling.
4 A Brilliant MindHe was a brilliant mind unlike many in the world, yet he taught us that knowledge isn’t a mystical impossibility that only a genius can possess. We can attain it through learning first-things-first, making small steps forward, and continuously adding building blocks to our education. He showed us that persistent effort over time leads to great accomplishments. I always felt like I could achieve anything because I saw him do it.
5 NASA & UPennHis research at NASA helped guide engineers to utilize materials that would one day be used in the Mercury missions which sent man into Earth’s orbit for the first time.
His time in academia at University of Pennsylvania, influenced and inspired thousands of students, some of the brightest minds the world has to offer. What an impact for one man to make.
6 Strive for The NobelOnly a few months ago, age 89, he was explaining to my dad why light that is far enough away can’t be seen by comparing it to sound waves in the Doppler effect (or whatever). Up until his last days he was thinking.
And after all he accomplished, he still had the insatiable drive to achieve success, wishing his research could have only won a Nobel prize.
7 Grounded By FamilyAll of this took a backseat to Cathy. He cannot stop talking about her. He wanted to talk to her about her so much that he had to write a book about her.. (And then when he finished writing it he used the book as an excuse to talk about her more!)
8 Family ValuesTogether they lived some of the fullest lives imaginable. Passing on to their children a drive to pursue learning, to have integrity and loyalty. The kids needed them and they needed the kids. In a way, all of us here are the physical manifest of their relationship.
9 Girifalco ClanFamily came first and they were totally committed to that. You never needed to ask; Someone was always there. And that feeling of security might be our biggest loss, the thought that we no longer have our rock to rely on.
But it’s not going away, it lives through us. All of us who find ourselves growing up around the Girifalco clan, seem to turn out to be good people.
10 Our Name Has MeanigThe example he set is what brought us together, he made our name mean something that we all could believe in. Isn’t that name the greatest legacy he could leave us with?
11 GriefAlthough rationally we all know it would be hard to have lived a fuller life, we still grieve. Grief can harden the softest hearts, and shrink the biggest.
But remember our name is something to live up to, that compels us to be better. A better father or mother, a better son or daughter, a better brother or sister, a better cousin.
12 Show Kindness
He always said that a persons measure was seen in how they treated others. (He was as nice and caring to working people as he was to the academic, political, corporate stiffs). If you find yourself missing him, carry on his legacy by showing kindness to those you love.
13 Family-Loyalty & Bottomless-Love We don’t know how long we will be here, or when fate will intervene. So every day, try to pass on these values by bringing others to join our loyal group, and teaching the children the importance of family-loyalty and bottomless-love.
14 Call GrandmaAlthough our clan faces a void, we should remember there is still another rock to lean on. If you’re not exactly sure what we stand for, call Grandma. After spending every day together for 67 years their identities have intertwined as much as their souls. To know Kate is to know Lou.
15 Seriously Call HerShe’s literally waiting by the phone 24/7 for your call, and is ready to give you advice or to update you on everyone’s status. Although we lost one of our main operators, we still have someone manning the line. Call Grandma, go see her and do something nice. You can feel Grandpa’s presence through her.
16 Be There For Each OtherI’m here too for you too if you need me, and I hope all of you would be there for any one of us. All of us need to be there for each other, and if we are, that Girifalco hotline will stay open for a long time to come.
I’ll leave on a joke Grandpa told me, he said due to the random nature of quantum physics, there’s always the chance that it actually is Mabeline.