• Gillooly Funeral Home
    Norwood, MA
In partnership with the Dignity Memorial® network
Gerald J. Pasquantonio 1943 - 2013

Gerald J. Pasquantonio

June 18, 2013
From the Gospel of John:

“In the beginning was the Word,
And the Word was . . .”
Baseball.

In the beginning, when Joann brought Gerry home for the first time, he was simply her new boyfriend. The first thing that the rest of the family learned was that we had to listen closely so that we could understand his accent. Later, I paid attention because he had really interesting things to say.

Although we rooted for fierce rivals, Gerry and I soon found common ground in baseball. Whenever you come across an expert, it is good to listen, and I never tired of Gerry's vast store of baseball knowledge. For a casual fan like me, hearing Gerry talk about the sport was fascinating. His flawless recollection of games produced stories told so vividly that I could visualize everything.

Gerry's love of the game and of the Boston Red Sox in particular became part of his identity. He actually expressed concern about it once, worrying that this devotion, on the part of an adult, made no sense. I disagreed, seeing it as a wonderful example of his capacity to love and to hope.

Baseball resembled a religious experience for Gerry. The entire baseball season demands daily Acts of Faith, and that faith was tested severely for many years for Red Sox fans. Doubt undoubtedly crept in, especially in crucial games when all-too-many of Gerry's incredibly accurate memories told him that it did not matter if the Sox were ahead because the game was not over yet, and it was always possible to find a way to lose. All of those heartbreaking losses and losing seasons never shook his faith in the team.

The faithful worship their Saints. In this case, the featured favorites included the likes of Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski and
David Ortiz. Of course, those heroes had their counterparts. Undeserving evildoers who, for some unexplainable reason always seemed to be New York Yankees, thwarted the righteous. To hear Gerry curse the names of Bucky . . . Dent and Aaron . . . Boone was to hear the wonder, amazement, and hurt of a boy coupled with the anger, frustration, and disappointment of a man. The emotions rang through in his voice because Gerry felt them all deeply.

This man of faith and love was not a one-dimensional sports fan. Regardless of how much fun it was to talk about players and games and Gerry's fantasy teams, the real beauty of talking about baseball was that it allowed us to talk about everything else. Baseball opened the way. Sometimes the conversation flowed into questions that mattered deeply to both of us and left me shivering at the connections we made. Complete honesty brought true communication that touched both of our lives. It did not happen on every phone call or in every chat, but the possibility for that kind of revelation was always there.

Gerry, I shall miss your stories and comments on subjects ranging from the family to the nation, from Boston College to the Boston Red Sox, from sports to politics, from home-grown peppers to home cooking, and on whatever else came up. I shall miss the potential truths of conversations that will never happen.

I shall miss you, Gerry.

Love,
Charlie

Charles J. Di Perna
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