Joseph J. Falvo, Jr
June 15, 1938 to September 10, 2009
My father was a loving husband, father, brother, uncle and friend.
As a loving husband, my father protected and provided for my mother for over 40 years. He worked three jobs to send her to college so she could become a teacher and fulfill her dreams. He was an extremely loyal and trusting husband and always the first to defend my mother no matter if she was wrong or right. My father was home every night for my mother and never did anything without her. He was so proud of my mother's accomplishments and would brag to his friends what a great teacher she was being the very first to start the High Achievement Program (HAP) in her school district. He had nothing, but complimentary things to say about my mother and defended her to the day he died. He was unselfish, thoughtful, kind and a gentleman to the greatest degree. He would always open the door for my mother and carry all her packages when they went shopping. When going out to restaurants, he would literally face the wall, so my mom could have the best view. He loved to take my mom shopping and loved buying her new clothes.but, be very careful if my mom was driving to the mall and he fell asleep in the car. When he woke up, he would sometimes find himself arriving at a shopping center at a totally different location on the other side of the state. This happened on several occasions. He didn't mind and went along with my mother's frequent change of plans.
One thing I noticed about my parents was that they always kept each other good company. If I went anywhere with them, they held each conversation like it was their first very interested in what each other had to say. And, my dad always made my mother laughhe made her laugh until he the day he died with his witty sense of humor and funny gestures. In fact, I had asked my mom a while back what attracted her to my dad and she said it was his sense of humor and that he always made her laugh. My dad loved when people were happy and enjoying themselveshe knew the right things to say to make you smile. Just the other day, I was working from their house in my office and my mom was alone with my dad in the other room. He said something to her and I just heard my mom laughing hysterically. I thought to myself through all this pain and agony that my dad has endured, he still makes my mom laugh. One day, I went over to my parents' house and saw my mom was frantically running around the house looking for her car key. She claimed that my dad misplaced it and was ranting and raving how my dad always loses everything. Apparently, my dad found the key and mischievously tied it around a string and wore it around his neck like a necklace to play a joke on my mom. My mom never looked up to see the key around my dad's neck. Then, after about 20 minutes, she finally looked up in her rage of anger and saw the key around my dad's neck. Her anger quickly turned to hysterical laughter.. And, that's how their relationship lasted all these years.
As a loving father, he was strong (inside and out), respected, loyal, supportive and first to compliment me and give me confidence. He was kind and thoughtful and never put himself first. I respected and loved my father more than life itself. He was a strong-willed and moral man who spent his life unselfishly teaching others by example. When I think of my father, the first thing that comes to my mind is respect. Respect was one of my dad's greatest qualities. He received respect and gave it out without discretion of who you were or what your status. As I mentioned last year at my wedding, my father taught me that it doesn't matter where you are in the food chain CEO of a major financial company, grocery clerk or mailman, if you do not have respect, you are nobody. I respected my father more than anyone in the world.
My father loved to coach my softball teams and also basketball and powderpuff football games. He would make sure he worked later on the night before my games, so he could get off on time to make the 6pm start of my games. He taught me how to be a team player and gave me the confidence I needed that carried on to this day. He has given me great inner strength that enabled me to be up here talking to you today. I owe my career and who I am today to my dad giving me the guidance and support I needed. When I first started working after college, I started out at a job which I didn't likefor 8 months, I was reviewing government documents and bored out of my mind. I was a computer programmer right out of college and needed something more interesting to work on. Well, I saw an announcement in my company for a computer programmer on a computer and operating system that I was not experienced. But, I still applied for the job. The manager told me that he would think about it and get back to me. So, the next day, I was playing softball at a company picnic and that manager was watching the game. I was playing center field and a fly ball got hit out to me and I ran back and made a pretty good catch. Well, the day after that when we were back at work, the manager came up to me and told me that I got the job. I was shocked, but happy at the same time. He said to me, you're not qualified for this job, but I'm going to give you a shot for having the guts to apply for it and catching that ball in center field yesterday. Anybody who can make a catch like that, can play on my team any day. And, that particular job jumpstarted my entire career. It was my father who taught me how to play on a team, have a competitive edge and gave me the confidence that I can do anything I want with some hard work attached.
My father was a very compassionate and forgiving man. He was always available to lend a helping handespecially to the elderly. He would make sure his 91-year-old neighbor wasn't alone on holidays and would invite her to his house. I remember one neighbor who lived across the street. I really didn't care for him because he was always flaunting, to my father, how he was a great engineer at AT&T and always pointing out if a leaf was out of place in my dad's lawn my dad kept his yard immaculate and was always working around his yard on weekends. This neighbor was retired and remember one day he came over to my father as my dad was getting out of his car coming home from work.he starts to complain about some dirt in the street left from the construction workers that put in our in ground pool. My dad had a few choice words for him, but got over it. Nothing would rock my father and he was still friendly. Then, one day, the neighbor had a stroke which left him partially handicapped. That winter, it snowed really bad and I was outside helping my dad shovel our driveway. After we were done, he started to go to this neighbor's house with his shovel and told me to come with him. I was complaining how I didn't like this man and didn't want to help him, but listened to my father, and helped him shovel our neighbor's driveway. At the time, I was disgusted and didn't understand why were we helping out this neighbor that was nothing, but mean to my dad. Later on, I realized just how forgiving my dad really was. My dad was able to forgive and help out a friend in need. He had the biggest heart and would always help out a friend never expecting anything in return. I respected him so much.
My father was one hard-working man. He never missed a day of work in his life with the exception of his heart attack and cancer operations. He worked from when he was 6 years old on my grandfather's bread truck. I remember when I was young, he worked at the Red Bank Register paper, then would work at nights at the liquor store, then cutting lawns on weekends and even managed to go to night school for a computers. His strong work ethic lasted his entire life. He finally retired four years ago and I just wish he had more time to enjoy his retirement with my mother. But, I am thankful for the time I spent with my parents during my father's retirement I flew them out to California one year, then to Arizona the next and played tour guide for a few weeks. We went to San Francisco and enjoyed Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, Napa Valley, and Carmelthen flew them to Scottsdale and went to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. My dad really enjoyed himself. We also took several trips to NYC via the ferry and walked the Riverwalk on the Hudson and took carriage rides in Central park and even got my dad to go to a Broadway show. My dad was willing to try just about anything.he came with us to the Halloween pet parade in Smithville where the animals got dressed up he thought that was really cool.we also went to see Imax shows and he would walk on the boardwalk with me on weekend mornings. Those memories will always be with me.
His friends would tell me that he was so proud of me and that his face would light up every time he mentioned my name or I would walk in the room. On the day he died, a policewoman came to our home. This same policewoman was at our house just last month when my dad fell and cracked his head and eye socket. I heard her telling the hospice nurse, at my parents' house, how much she knew my dad loved me. She was telling the nurse that even though my dad fell and cracked his head and was lying on the floor in blood, he smiled when he saw me.
My father was a very generous man. He would always invite friends for dinner and over for the holidays. He would have super bowls parties at his house and fight nights to watch boxing matches. He would invite his family, his friends and my friends too. He enjoyed joking around with his brothers and loved his sister, Judy. I know he was very protective with my Aunt Judy alsoeven when they were young, he had to discipline' a boy or two if they weren't acting appropriate to my aunt in high school. My friends loved hanging around my father. They feared and respected him at the same time. They loved the conversation yet knew when to shut up. He was the center of attention whenever I had a party and everyone always seemed to gravitate to my dad. I was so proud to have him around.
My father was strict and not afraid to say what was on his mind. To most, he was intimidating. I grew up fearless when he was aroundfor he was always there to protect me. I knew, he would protect with his life and I was never afraid of anything as long as he was near. When I was living at home and boyfriends would come over to pick me up, I would have to prep them before they came telling them they must give my dad a firm handshake and look him in the eye. My father had a gift of street smarts and would weed out the undesirables a lot faster than I could. In fact, I would pray that nobody ever hurt me because he said that if they did, he would hunt them down, burry them to their neck, stick them in the closet and kick them every day in the head. Ugh, I didn't want some jerk in my closet with his head sticking out. Luckily, I was never harmed and never in trouble.
I want to thank a few people that have helped us out in this most difficult time. First, I need to thank my best friend, Robbie Ferrigno. My father loved you like a son and was so proud of you and respectful of who you are. Robbie spend months with us driving up to Sloan Kettering in NYC for endless tests and operations that my dad needed to fight his cancer. He did not only drive us all there, but safely dropped off my parents in front of the hospital. I could not have done this alone without you. Robbie was so supportive to my father and so helpful with his positive outlook and questions for the doctors. He genuinely cared about my father like his own father and it showed in everything he did. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I want to thank friends and family for coming to visit my dad at home and also in the hospital at Sloan Kettering in NYC. I want to thank my manager at work for letting my take off time to go to doctor visits with my dad and work at my parents' house every other Friday. During this last week, I was fortunately enough to work from their house every day. I will always remember your kindness.
Diane telling dad about he's the man of the world. Robbie saying he never met a man that loved his wife and daughter more than him. Thank you both for the kind words.
Most of all, I want to thank my husband, Scott, for all your love and support through this difficult time. My father loved you like a son alsobut, I'm glad you're not my brother. My father was so proud of you becoming a LTC in the Army and totally enjoyed talking to you about your life in the Army and loved that you listened to his own Army stories too. He was so happy when we got married and knew he could leave this world knowing that both his daughter and wife would be looked after and protected by you. Thank you for making my father happy and giving him that peace of mind.
Finally, I would like to thank my dad for my wonderful childhood and fulfilling my life with unconditional love and support. He would always tell me that I was his pride and joy and would tell me how proud he was of me.
My father never let me down. I could count on him for anything. All the cancer in the world couldn't stop my father from walking me down the aisle last year. He grabbed his walker and escorted me to the alter to get married after a major spinal fusion operation which left him hunched over with a back filled of rods and screws. He always kept his word and I trusted him more than anyone else in the entire world. He taught me the importance of trust and he knew he could count on me for anything too.
I am grateful to my father for going through life always feeling protected and safe. He was so brave and had so much courage. I feel sorry for those who have never experienced what I have and I want to tell you that it's the greatest feeling in the world knowing that somebody loves you that much and would sacrifice their own life to keep you safe.
What greater achievement can any man have other than having a wife and daughter that respects and loves him so much that they would die for him. My father has achieved the respect from his family and friends that most people never get to see in their lifetimes. My father can leave this world knowing he made a difference and will always be remembered by everyone who loved him. I will always love you, dad, and you will be in my heart forever.