By Dan Duddy
Head Football Coach New Jersey
I lost my father May 10th. He died peacefully with a quiet last breath; mind you “Quiet” was never an adjective that described him. He was a “man of few words” perhaps, but those words were strong and audible for sure.
Pop’s slow and steady breathing became erratic and was punctuated with a faint “whoosh”, the very sound that I imagine an angel’s wings would make as they landed next to his bed to scoop him up and take him to our Lord. With his eyes already closed, he seemed to relax and sink slightly as all pain left him.
How invasive his personality and love for me was! I didn’t realize it though until he was gone. Pop wasn’t one to say “I love you”, but he worked his tail off for us, his five children, with an incredible relentless effort that persevered some very difficult times, but his greatest challenge was his very own history with a father that left him and his mother alone and cold.
He and his mom suffered through post depression times together. He lied about his age to join the navy, and almost lost his leg in WWII. He then met my mother and nurtured a fine love with her 40 years of marriage before she passed away, all the while giving his home to his mother so she could live a long life in comfort and love with us, her grandchildren.
My father gave his mother, his wife, and all of his children more leadership, protection, and provisions then his father could even imagine, and he did it without a father’s example.
In fact his father’s example gave him an excuse to walk out on us. But he loved God, and he knew Christ.
His mother prayed the rosary every single day. I saw Christ in my dad. Jesus Christ, through the intercession of his Blessed Mother Mary, saved my father’s family as a son, as a father, and as a grandfather.
I will miss him dearly, but I pray the rosary far more often now as I lead, protect and provide for my lovely wife and eight children with the example of a very good man in my heart and the collective hearts of my children and everyone that was blessed to know him.
God is great.