We lost dad unexpectedly and suddenly on Thursday, April 16th; planned his funeral on Friday; reflected about him on Saturday; waked him on Sunday and burried him on Monday. It was a very difficult 5 days and we had to show how brave and couragious we were and how proud we were for our dad. It was a sad and emotional time for my sisters and I and we had to console our children as they were so upset about poor pop. Grandpa was such a big part of our lives and he lived for his grandchildren. He would always be available to babysit, attend soccer games, attend dance recitals, attend little league baseball games and take the kids out to Friendly’s, Dunkin Donuts or the mall. He was just like a big kid and he was so gentle and had a heart as big as the tallest buildings he worked on. I looked at pictures of our family on Saturday and tried to remember back to the times when we were young kids and had such happy times and wonderful memories of our parents in their younger days. I showed Matty pictures of mom and dad when I was a kid and my baby pictures. It was very emotional looking back at those pictures and remembering our family when we were young and all together. It seems like such a happier time and a blur at the same time.
I was too upset to put a collage together so I asked Maria if she could help me out and put one together with pictures of pop, my sisters and I, our mom and us with Matthew. I gave her 5 small poster boards to work with and when I get back from my errands I would bring them to the funeral parlor. She did a great job and I was so proud to bring them to be viewed at his wake. Dad was very special and he did not like a fuss but he deserved a fitting tribute as he was such a devoted family man and a very dedicated ironworker and he also proudly served his country.
We knew based on how dad died we would not be able to view him as a closed casket was necessary. We were struggling with this but knew it was the right thing to do as we did not want to see our poor dad in that condition. I wanted to remember him how I always knew him and just pray that he is at peace and reunited with his wife, our beautiful mother. They were so perfect together.
Dad had been a very quiet person and pretty much kept to himself but he had such a tremendous turnout at his wake and we were very appreciative for the outpouring of love and sympathies given to our dad. We were so grateful to see so many relatives, friends, coworkers and dad’s ironworker buddies. I was moved by it all and I had a special visitor from my highschool days who I had not seen in 30 years and I was so touched by seeing him their. Marty Schindelheim has always been a great friend of mine back in highschool and I was so delighted to see him there. My friends Jeff Saper, Sandy Nassau, Howard Kurpit and his sweet wife Angela were also there. Robert Findaro, a friend from my Contiki European tour came. My co-workers from the office came as well which meant a lot to me. Janet Adams, the office manager who is like a mom to all of us helped console me when she called and left such a beautiful message on my phone. I was very touched and she has always been a great friend to me. Lucila spent at least an hour talking with me and consoling me and I was so deeply appreciative as she is such a wonderful and caring person. Dimi Green and her sister also came as did Melissa Gallagher, her husband Brian Gallagher and their cute little baby girl. Elaine Evans, Tami Stein and Vanessa also came. Russel and Betsy Mantel were there as were Larry Kweit, Janet Bernzott, Nora and Steve. Bruce Handler who was there for me and called me to check in to see how I was doing was there with Jeff Luzim. Diane and her husband also came to pay tribute to my dad. James Nolan came with his mom and sister too which was very sweet. My co-worker and friend John Curnyn and his girlfriend Victoria were there also.
The priest spoke at dad’s wake and talked about him as a family man, a loving husband and father. A doting grandfather and a very dedicated ironworker. He was such a compassionate person and would always help each of his children and be very supportive and selfless as he always put us ahead of his needs. We had the opportunity to speak on behalf of Dad as Kathy volunteered first and she spoke very well of dad and painted such a beautiful picture of him through her words. We were so very proud. I then decided to honor my dad and I spoke of my dad in the only way I knew him which was as a very loving dad and very loyal husband to mom. I knew him as also a very proud ironworker who took his work seriously and was responsible for building many impressive skyscrapers that lined the city, building the verazzano bridge, many hospitals, court houses and schools. My dad gave every ounce of himself and he certainly was my hero. My sister Joan gave the most touching tribute with her 4 kids each saying something about their beloved pop. They all had tears and fond memories of pop and they all touched us with their words of love and praise and their tears.
I was so happy to see dad’s brothers Bobby and Billy Iannielli and their beautiful wifes. We also were happy to see Dad’s late brother Donald’s wife Aunt Anne and their children Susan, Nancy, Donald, Timmy and their families. Uncle Kevin and Aunt Pat Moran, sister to my mom and their children and our cousins Coleen, Maureen and their families were also there to lend their support and grieve with us.
I also saw a lot of our family friends. Josie and Mark Krug and the little girl Daniella who grandma baby sits for during the week was there with her family. We were touched by all who came to pay tribute and I tried to thank everyone. Mrs Keller and her son William also came to lend their support as did our neighbor in Levittown, Carmella and her husband.
I was so amazed by the crowd of people and deeply honored for dad as he was so special to me and my family and I was so very sad. I held back the tears but I could not as my good friend from work Elaine Evans gave me such a hug and I could not help but cry. She has a way of tapping into my sensitive side which I very much appreciate.
After the 2 sessions ended we headed for home and I said farewell to all my friends and family relatives. Joanie and Mike had a gathering at their house for the day of the wake and a lot of family and friends had stopped over. Maria was with Matthew for most of the day and spent time there as it was hard to control him at the wake. Matthew played games and ran around. I was exhausted and emotionally drained knowing tomorrow would be a difficult day as we say farewell to our dad which I was not quite ready to do but knew I had to do with a heavy heart.
I went to sleep but kept thinking about poor dad and what had happened and I just could not find peace as I just was horrified and could only envision the tragedy and pain I felt for him. I was devastated. As morning came I knew we were preparing for a very sad day and the weather was rainy and gloomy and I knew this would be a very sad day but I would try my best to be couragious for my dad and for my family.
We all gathered back at the funeral parlor to say our last goodbyes to dad and say our prayers before we headed over to the church service. The priest who was saying the mass for dad was specially selected as he knew dad and he was very popular in the parish. As we walked in as dad’s coffin was carried in we all had been wiping our tears and consoling our children. It was difficult but we managed to walk in the church and I was so happy to see Janet Adams, Russel and Betsy, Lucila and Diane. They were so kind in coming and they made me feel good. The priest spoke so eloquently at the service and the alter servers were wonderful. There were so many kids at Dad’s funeral as they were the friends of all our kids who got to know pop and treated him like family. The priest spoke of my dad and the life he led and how wonderful a person he was and all the sad tragedies he dealt with but managed to be strong and provide all of us a tremendous gift of his love and support. After his wonderful speech he signaled us to bring the gifts up to the alter so he could serve communion. After the communion Father summoned Joannie to read her Eulogy of Dad and she read it with heart, compassion and with love shining through for our dad. She was tremendous as she read everything from her experiences as a little girl to her visit with dad in the city and she spoke from her heart. There was not a dry eye in the audience. We were all impressed and felt she gave such a beautiful tribute to dad. After the mass we all gathered with the kids and walked down the aisle as I glanced at the many faces and acknowledging their visit. I saw Elizabeth Gill, a client of the firm as I walked towards the back and reached over to thank her and give her a smile. We were escorted into limousines to follow the hearse carrying dad’s body. Dad was being burried next to mom and was being given a full honors naval military burial. We drove past our old house in Bellmore before driving to dad’s final resting place. As we drove the limo driver made sure the procession was ready to follow. We drove slowly towards the wantagh parkway and entered the ramp and proceeded onto the parkway enroute to the cemetary where dad would finally be reunited with his wife.
As we arrived at the cemetary we needed umbrellas as the rains started to come down pretty steadily. We made it to the grave site where there were 2 sailors who removed the flag from dad’s coffin and folded it in a special way and presented it to Gregory, serving in the Maines Corps in honor of dad. It was very touching. The priest gathered at the site to say prayers and asked every one to remember Edward as a kind man and know that he is at peace now with his wife again and that we are all blessed for having him as a part of our life. He blessed his coffin and asked everyone to place a flower at the coffin. I stood near the coffin to say my final goodbye to dad with tears in my eyes and told him how much I love him and will miss him and I pray for both him and mom and am glad they are back together after so many years, I said my final goodbye to dad at his funeral and shed some tears and told him I would be back to visit him and mom again and that I love them both so very much and thanked them for all they did for me and my family and how we will truly miss them
God Bless you Dad. I love you and mommy very much and miss you both.
Ed, Maria & Mattew Iannielli