Remembering Uncle Vince

Uncle Vince and Evelyn meet for the first time.
May 2011

On the last day of 2012, we lost my Uncle Vince. At 84 years old he lived a full and vibrant life.

On Monday, my sister Katie and I gave part of the eulogy at Vince’s funeral. I’m posting it below so that I can easily share it with family members who requested copies.

I am grateful to have had such a wonderful uncle, and for everything he brought to our family.

——————–

Over the past few days, as we’ve talked about our Uncle Vince and everything he meant to all of us, we noticed a theme: Uncle Vince was always passing on gems of wisdom to the people around him. So in honor of everything we’ve all learned from Vince, we put together our list of


Top Life Lessons from Uncle Vince:

1.  Be the first one on the dance floor. He taught us to get out of our seats and dance. Uncle Vince was always the first one up and dancing at every family party and wedding, leading us all in the tarantella. He and I would dance at the Italian festas. Even well into his later years he led me in a tango that I will never forget. He was a leader of our family and could certainly take the lead in some of the most skilled dances on the floor.  -Katie

2. Family comes first. Our grandmother instilled strong family values in all of her children. As the patriarch of our family, Uncle Vince made sure we all remembered that family comes before anything else. Looking around today, it’s clear that the lesson stuck. Talking to everyone last night and today, that’s what comes through: Uncle Vince loved his family so fiercely, and we’ll continue to feel his love for the rest of our lives.  Now it’s up to all of us to carry on that legacy, whether we’re in Albany, Florida, Schenectady, Toronto, or Maryland. It’s all about “famiglia”. -Nicole

3.  Never put your sweater on a hanger. Uncle Vince was always the best dressed person in the room, and full of fashion wisdom- like, never hang a sweater. And he probably taught most of the men in this room how to tie a tie- properly. Through the men’s fashion stores he owned and managed and his time as a Capital Region tv model for Spector’s, he was a fashion icon.  -Katie

4. The meaning of true love. Vince’s love for Carm was an example to everyone around them of a devoted lifelong marriage, especially for me as a newlywed- it is a wonderful model of love and loyalty. Who can forget the way he called her “dolly” and they way they cared for each other? -Katie

5. No one in this family really needed a lesson in this, but Vince reminded us: Mangia!  Whether he was showing us how to roast red peppers, preparing a Sunday dinner, or munching on a biscotti, Uncle Vince taught us to eat good food together. I’m sure we’ll have no problem living out this lesson.  -Nicole

6. Make time to enjoy the finer things in life. Uncle Vince loved opera, ballet, cigars, and tea in a china tea cup with a linen napkin. He enjoyed life’s finer gifts and shared his passion with others. Whether it was lending me a VHS of “The Red Shoes” or talking about productions of Carmen – he taught me to appreciate and make time for the arts … and tea. –Katie

Uncle Vince and me.
May, 1984

7. Canna canna stoopali! All of us who grew up around Uncle Vince remember canna canna
stoopali and the giggle fits that resulted. I was told that “canna canna stoopali” meant “climbing, climbing the stairs,” but we’ve found no evidence of this in the actual Italian language. Maybe it was a Vince-ism or a silly family game, but it’s one that I’ve been thrilled to play with my own daughter – I’ve discovered Uncle Vince’s secret that this game gets the absolute best little belly laughs. -Nicole

8. Keep moving.  In the past few years, Uncle Vince went swimming daily, walked on the beach, traveled to Italy, visited California, came up to Albany several times, and cruised the seas. He was vibrant and full of fun -and sported a great tan- right through the end of his life. Grandma Andrews always said “never stop moving” and Vince was proof of the wisdom in this lesson. –Nicole

9. Live with love. Every one of us here feels Uncle Vince’s love. His life was defined by his love for his wife, his daughters, his grandchildren, his brothers, his sisters, his nieces, his nephews, his friends, and his family.  

Our duty now is to remember Vince and everything he taught us. Most importantly, our job is to live with love the way Vince did. (And, of course, to mangia!)

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