A great man passes on

In my post yesterday titled "Cherish the memories of youth" I spoke briefly about the importance of holding on to the memories of our childhood.  In this same spirit I hope to speak about someone who I knew well as a child and who just this past September 1st passed away. Let me introduce to you Dominick Crincoli. 

To me and my brothers he was known lovingly as, "Uncle" Dominick.  We had many fond memories of him, growing up, but there is one that stands out the most for me. 

I remember the occasion well, my father and I went to some family gathering.  I was just 14 years old and I had just begun attending Seton Hall Preparatory school.  (For more tales about my stay there click here.) One of my biggest goals at that time was to make the prestigious basketball team.  As I made my rounds at the party with my father, greeting what it seemed like a million cousins; I saw a familiar and comforting figure, my beloved "Uncle" Dominick.  I don't know why, but for some strange reason I felt instantly comfortable, and at ease with "Uncle" Dominick.  He had this unique gift of making anyone feel comfortable in his presence.  Almost immediately we began talking about of course, basketball.  He spoke candidly about his experiences at West Side High School in Newark and he gave me some pointers on how to improve my chances of making the team.  I remembered how he told me specifically to always focus on the fundamentals, to practice them daily and consistently.  He also recommended that I improve my footwork down the post.  We also spoke about different matters that evening but I never forgot his advice. Fortunately for me I listened and I was able to make the basketball team.

I know that this encounter might not have seemed as much, but to me it made a lasting impression. "Uncle" Dominick was genuine, he cared, he wanted to make a difference. I wasn't just some distant cousin that he saw once in a while. I was important I was special, why? because "Uncle" Dominick cared. With great regret I don't think that I ever got the chance to express my gratitude for his kindness and sage advice. But somewhere someplace I know that he knows my gratitude, even if I never had the opportunity to tell him so.

Unfortunately as the years passed and I got older I didn't spend as much time with "Uncle" Dominick.  We would see each other here and there mostly at weddings or funerals. But I never forgot the sincere thoughtfulness that he showed me that fateful night.  It is amazing how powerful the memories of childhood are.  I hold on to them because through them I learn a little about myself, through them I experience a little foretaste of heaven while I am sojourning temporarily on this earth.

Besides being an inspiration to me and his family here are some of the other accomplishments of "Uncle" Dominick:

  • He was a high school basketball stand out at West Side High School in Newark
  • He attended both Bloomfield College and Seton Hall University
  • He served in the army during the Korean War
  • He was a three term mayor of Livingston, New Jersey
  • He was active in various charitable organizations such as The Muscular Dystrophy Association of Northern New Jersey and the Boys Club in Union, New Jersey.
  • He was the proud father of three children,5 grand children, and 4 great grand children
I will sorely miss my "Uncle" Dominick and I just wanted to thank him for his kindness and wonderful legacy.  It is so rare in  life to encounter someone of true greatness. Uncle Dominick was that man, a hero to his family, friends, town, and country.


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