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Vincent Lombardi

Dr. Vincent Paul Lombardi Saratoga - On August 30, 2013, long-time Saratoga resident Dr. Vincent Paul Lombardi peacefully passed away at home surrounded by his loving family. Vincent had a lifelong passion for music. When he was a teenager, his Mother surprised him with a trumpet as a birthday present and before long he was happily playing with his two brothers in local bands. For the rest of his long life, he embraced music with passion and dignity. During World War II, Vincent served in the 376 U.S. Army Air Force Band; his assignments included touring with Major Bonne and Captain Gentile to raise money for war bonds. After the war, Vincent married the love of his life, Kathleen Immitt. He enthusiastically took advantage of the G.I. bill and graduated from Wagner College with a B.S. in Education. He later earned a doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He dedicated his professional life to helping those with intellectual disabilities. First, through a children's program at Willowbrook State School, Staten Island, N.Y., his ground-breaking teaching techniques included creating sheet music with animals in place of notes. This approach was effective especially for students who were unable to read music or to speak. The musician residents of the Willowbrook State School Band became very accomplished and gave concerts at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the Hotel Astor and on the televised Martha Raye Show. As Vincent's career progressed, he held leadership positions at the West Seneca State School, Buffalo, N.Y., in the State Capitol Administrative Offices in Albany, N.Y. and at the Wilton Developmental Center, Wilton, N.Y. When he retired from his work with N.Y. State, Vincent fulfilled a lifelong dream to own and operate a farm. He and Kathleen purchased a beautiful tract of land on Locust Grove Road, Greenfield, N.Y. with lots of barns and a Victorian house in need of much refurbishment. Once renovated, it was the beloved home for an extended family that included Vincent's mother, father, mother-in-law and adored son Steven Immitt. The barns were full of chickens, goats and piglets; hay and vegetables were grown in the fields each year. With the passing of parents and the growing up of children, Vincent and Kathleen converted their home into “The Lombardi Farm Bed and Breakfast” where they met people from around the world, many of whom became dear and lasting friends. All the while Vincent kept up with his music. He regularly played trumpet at local venues and at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for headline performers including Tex Beneke, Barry Manalow, Bob Hope, Andy Williams and Liberace. When he and Kathleen moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to live with their daughter Grace and son-in-law Bob, Vincent joined two local musical groups, the Second Wind Band and the Flashbacks. Despite health challenges, Vincent always had an optimistic outlook. Right before his passing, he wrote in his journal about the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the wonderful Virginia climate. Vincent and Kathleen were married for 62 years; she along with family members and their community of friends (many of whom live in Saratoga) can take comfort in knowing that Vincent spent his 90th birthday on August 31, 2013 in heaven with his loving parents, his bother Joseph and his extraordinary son Vincent Junior. A memorial mass will be held in Vincent's honor at Holy Comforter Catholic Church on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 1:30pm. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Haiti Ministry of the Holy Comforter Catholic Church (208 East Jefferson Street, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902; phone: (434) 295-7185; e-mail: office@holycomforterparish.org ).

Published in The Saratogian on Sept. 6, 2013
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