Dino Tomassetti Remembered

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My father was and is one of a kind. He fought valiantly until he got tired. He has taught me so much through his example: lessons of tenacity, the importance of overcoming hardships and great strength. His strength and determination, even after he had his accidents, are a source of inspiration to everyone who knows him and loves him.  One simple phrase that he has uttered to me a number of times throughout my life was: “Lorraine, nothing is impossible.” That phrase, as simple and common as it sounds, is one thing that sticks out in my mind when I think of my father. He went above and beyond throughout his extraordinary life to prove that countless times through his numerous accomplishments, and as the song goes, he did it “his way.” He was also there for me along with my mom, including during my cancer ordeal when I was losing my hair. Joe and I came to their house and I was crying and he comforted me and said, “I wish I can say, ’Let it (hair loss) happen to me instead of you.”  Even with what he was going through with his health issues after his accident, he always put family first, making sure to ask how we were feeling, if we were sick or in pain. May father was larger than life and we will miss him. Now you can rest in peace, Dad. We all love you forever. (Eulogy by Lorraine Cappuccio, Dino Tomassetti’ s daughter).

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My father, Dino Tomassetti Sr., was a giant of man. Even standing at a modest physical height, he cast a shadow far greater than one would expect at first sight.

Everyone has heard the archetypal story of the young man that travels from a foreign land with just the clothes on his back and a burning fire in his belly to make better of himself, the people, and the world around him. My father is that man.

The character of the man that accomplished those things is one of great fortitude, energy, persistence, desire, and a sheer strength of will that could literally move mountains. My father always felt that if he believed he could do something, it could be done. And he believed he could do anything. The man I am describing seems superhuman. But that was just one facet of my father’s character.

I loved my dad the most for his most human traits. He was a compassionate, loving, and extremely intelligent man with a sharp wit, great sense of humor, brilliant smile, and a way with words that belied the fact that English was not his first language. He had an abundance of charisma and charm that I often tried to emulate but seldom if ever succeeded. He always put family first, despite being so driven to success. He never passed on an opportunity to help those that were less fortunate than him. It was something that made him so proud. He had a gravity about him; an ability to pull the good people around him into his orbit, just as the sun tugs the planets. One minute he could shout and holler, and then the next he would give you a smile and a pat on the back. We’ve all experienced, at one point or another, his protruding lower jaw signifying anger. He was as fierce as the fiercest lion and yet he never made me feel like I was not the most beloved person in his life.

For me, my father was a compass that always pointed me to True North. My greatest motivation in life was always to make him proud, to get his approval. The greatest gifts he ever gave to me were those invaluable lessons exemplified by the life that he led. I suspect that there are many others in life that he touched in the same way. By his words and actions, he taught his seven children how to be strong, self-sufficient, and good people. And that’s how his legacy will live on; through the lives and actions of his children, his grandchildren, their children, and the countless other lives that he touched.

Of course, the construction business was a huge part of his life, and he truly mastered his field. l often say that success in the field of construction is about being a problem solver and overcoming challenges as they present themselves. I was always awed by his ability to look at challenges differently than anyone else, and immediately and effortlessly come up with inventive and out-of-the-box solutions. In this way, he was a brilliant and resourceful leader. Many may not know this, but he seemingly had the ability to control the weather. One of my favorite stories of him starts on the morning of a 500-yard concrete mat pour on one of our projects in Manhattan. I got to the yard at 5:30 a.m. and it was a torrential downpour. Conventional wisdom in construction is that you don’t pour a finished slab in a heavy rain. I was ready to postpone the pour. I was on the phone with my brother Rocco, who was also ready to cancel the concrete delivery. Then dad shows up. "Ok, we’re going to pour ... " We started placing concrete a little bit before 7 a.m., and by the time we were ready to start finishing the slab, the rain had stopped, the sun was shining and the birds were singing. And the best part was, because of the rain, no one else in the city of New York was pouring concrete that day, so we had extra trucks available to finish early. This was not a fluke. He had done this on more than one occasion.

So as we gather here today, let’s not mourn the death of Dino Tomassetti Sr., rather let’s celebrate the life and legacy of a great man, and let’s continue to carry on that legacy and make him proud. Just as I can look out on the Manhattan skyline and see all of the physical monuments that he had a part in constructing, I can look out upon the people in this room and see all the lives that he touched in one way or another. While he will be sorely missed, he will never be forgotten. If I know my father, I bet you he’s looking down on all of us right now and saying, "Get back to work." I also know that heaven just got one hell of a Builder to shape that place up.

Goodbye Papa. We Love You.  (Eulogy by Dino Tomassetti, Jr.)

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