My father, Rocco Mario Rinaldi, passed away a week ago after 92 years and 11 months. I’m sad but heartened by the fact that he led an incredible life. Just amazing. He was born in a Flintstones-like environment; no running water, heat, electricity, plumbing, in a stone house. He immigrated to America in 1934. In the course of his 76 years in America he persevered through the depression, survived World War II and thrived in post war America as a Machinist at Miller Brewery.
His accomplishment will be little noted by history but the impact he had on people will not soon be forgotten. He always had a smile, a hearty laugh and an absolutely genuine interest in people that is pretty uncommon. He collected friends like mosquitoes after a wet spring. I’ve received calls and calls from friends, neighbors and acquaintances telling me about his good nature, friendliness, stories and laughter.
He loved visiting. He’d make friends everywhere. He’d go to walk at the local mall and bring home a dozen people for cake and coffee. Someone would mention they needed something like a dehumidifier and the next day he’d show up, humidifier in hand. He had a group of widows he took care of. They counted on him for a number of years for grocery shopping, doctor appointments and small jobs like getting the loud washing machine fixed or the screen door hung.
He was pretty proud of me and my brother, Mario. Before age caught up with him, he used to stop in RTA and look around. He had no concept what Real Time Automation did or how we made money. He was just proud to look around and see Engineers at work.
I inherited his smile and a lot of his personality though I’m not near as comfortable making friends with strangers as he was. He knew my neighbors better than I do. I certainly didn’t inherit his mechanical or dancing abilities. I can barely use a screw driver and my dancing skills are non existent. I’m better at math and language than he but I had the benefit of 15 more years of schooling. He had just 3 years because Mussolini decreed that all boys needed 3 years. I have his work ethic, love of family, love of country and story telling ability.
Tears were shed, glasses were raised and 70 cars followed his hearse to his grave site. He lived a life worth living. May we all be so lucky.