On September 25th, 2022 I lost my father, Frank Chirico, Sr. to a short battle with Leukemia. He was 77. I has been a roller coaster of emotions and taking care of family matters regarding health, repairing things in his home, and being there for the family in this transition from hospital visits, and so on. Writing for Got Questions and Pens & Wrenches, along with my books and fiction stories were placed on hold for a few months until I was able to concentrate. Even now, I am having difficulty. But I wanted to thank the many people who made this transition easier, and Dad’s send-off a memorable one.
First, I want to thank Crabiel Home for Funerals. Not only for their attention to detail, but the love and care they gave to the family and his send-off. From the banners, pictures, prayer cards, brochures, video, and even displaying his Don Juan lamp; the loving care and patience assisting us picking out the casket and making arrangements is unmatched in their business. Paulette and her son, B.C., have taken their family business to a whole new level.
The services at the funeral home and at the gravesite were absolutely incredible. The Milltown Fire Department gave him a hero’s send-off not only by the kind and thoughtful words of those he served with, but Engine 72 leading the procession to gravesite passing both firehouses — stopping at Hose Co. where he served for over 25 years active duty and activating the town siren three times. We were also surprised and thankful to the Army National Guard for being there: playing “Taps”, and honoring my mother with a flag ceremony. The final touch was my cousin Enzo using my late Uncle’s 1946 Ford pickup as the flower car. Dad loved that truck, and I remember riding in it as a kid. I could almost hear him say to me, ‘Go ahead; take a ride. I did and took a spin back to the American Legion Post 25 which held the repast afterwards gathered with family and friends.
I also wanted to thank those who personally loved him and the family through this. Those who sent cards and donations to the family, Rescue Squad and Fire Department. The beautiful flowers that surrounded him in love while laid out, and those who sent meals and comfort food to the home so we didn’t have to think about breakfast, lunch or dinner. There were so many people that contributed even when he was in the hospital and unable to come home. The love that you all have shown was not unnoticed, and will be remembered for years to come.
Throughout Dad’s life, he loved people and made others a priority and it showed. Everyone knew him as, “Uncle Frank” because he was the loving uncle they always wanted. Dad was a great storyteller, and throughout his last days and at the services I enjoyed the stories people told about him. His cousin, George and the time they both whooped some young guys in a basketball game. Or Bobby and the time he and my Uncle Robert picked Dad up at Fort Dix in his GTO. Or the time a horse found its way into the firehouse. If anyone else has stories to tell I would love to hear them. But behind each story there are people who impressed him or made him laugh, and those who had a special connection with him. But even though Dad is gone, he continues to live on in the those who meant so much to him.
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