This page is dedicated to my Father who died of bone cancer on November 18, 2001 at 3:23AM. His four children were by his side and he passed very peacefully. He fought a hard fight, but in the end, the cancer won. But this page is not a morning of his death, but rather, a celebration of his life.
His funeral was the most beautiful I had ever attended. Perhaps it was because he was my father. Perhaps it was because his children, grandchildren, and nephew got up to eulogize him and tell what he meant to them. Perhaps it was because his brother, Rev Peter J. Rofrano of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in NYC said the mass and gave a heart felt eulogy about his brother.
It was just satisfying to know that my father’s spirit will live on in the lives of so many. The picture on this page was taken on Father’s Day of this year (2001). It’s the one I now have posted on my refrigerator door and say hello to every morning. As you can see he loved getting a tan. He was so full of life. We went to church together that morning and had a great day. It was the last time he came to my house.
The night he died was the Leonid meteor shower. As we came out of his room, we looked up at the sky and saw shooting stars streaking through the heavens. It was if this was Dad’s way of saying good bye.
On January 23, 2006 my Mother joined my father and now they are together again.
Here is the eulogy that I gave for my father. While I did it from memory at the time I decided to write it down here so I’d have it to refer to in the future:
My father would have been pleased to see all of his family and friends here today because dad was a very social man. He loved being in the center of the action. He enjoyed his wine and his hot peppers and would never pass up a good meal. He enjoyed taking day trips with my aunts and uncles to find a new lobster restaurant or a new buffet. He loved being around people. Any excuse to get together and enjoy family and friends. Over the past two days, many people have told me how much they loved my father. He was one of a kind they would say. If a man’s wealth where measured by the people who love him, my father was a wealthy man.
I remember my father always volunteering and encouraging us to volunteer. He was a member of the Lion’s club and the Mount Carmel Church club. He was the 8th ward republican leader head of 14 districts. He always volunteered at the church. I remember growing up that everyone knew my father. It was very difficult going to a catholic school where everyone knew your Dad. You couldn’t get away with anything. It was also very comforting growing up with everyone knowing my Dad. It was a sense of security and a feeling of extended family that was very reassuring. He was always willing to help. Not many people know this but my father would collect our cloths that we had grown out of and distribute them to the people on his insurance route to help families that were less fortunate than us. If a man’s wealth were measured by his charity to his community, my father was a wealthy man.
My father always told me to be honest. “Your word is your bond. It is all that you have”, he would say. “If people can’t trust your word, then you have nothing”. “Never make a promise you don’t intend to keep”. And people knew that when John Rofrano said he would do something that it would get done. He was someone everyone trusted. If a man’s wealth is measured by his integrity, then my father was a wealthy man.
As my uncle, Rev. Peter Rofrano pointed out, my father was also a very religious man. When he lived in Yonkers I remember him attending daily mass. Last year when I was having some health worries I decided to attend daily mass and couldn’t believe what a calming affect it had on my day. Now I know how he felt. I encourage each of you to start your day with a morning mass. It will reduce a lot of the stress in your life. My dad would also say the rosary daily. I think we found 14 pair of rosaries around the house this week. If a man’s wealth is measured by his faith in God, then my father was a wealthy man.
Loving and Loved by others, charity to his community, integrity, faith in God, these are the words that come to mind when I think of my father. I want to leave you with this thought. My father’s spirit will never die, because a piece of who he was, is at the core of who his children are. My sisters and I carry his spirit within us. May you rest in peace Dad. Your work here is done, but your spirit lives on.
John J. Rofrano Jr., November 20, 2001