August 21, 2012
The following is the eulogy, written and delivered by J.D. Cook at his grandfather Pat Albano’s funeral on August 20th.
On behalf of my family I’d like to thank you all for coming to honor my late grandfather’s memory.
Born Pasquale John Albano; his friends and family came to know him best as Pat while his grandchildren dubbed him Pap Pap. Pat’s childhood home became the sight of many happy Christmas’s for his grandchildren. He would entertain his grandson Jake and granddaughter Erin with silly stories created over misheard phrases or words. His grandson Bryen would often find himself being chased through the house by Pat pretending to be a ghoul or ghost and whenever I needed a ride to football practice or home from school he was there.
This is, of course, a snap shot into Pat’s life near its conclusion. He was born in Hazleton Pennsylvania; the 9th of 10 children and spent the vast majority of his life here; taking an interest in local politics and serving the community for 31 years as a mail man who would ring the door bell for the elderly folks when their social security checks arrived. Pat was one of the great unsung pillars of the Hazleton community who never asked for anything in return for the years of service and effort he put into the city. He was the back bone of an American generation that emphasized hard work, generosity and friendliness.
This is best emphasized by his relationship with Morris and Bessie, two Jewish Russian immigrants, who he met while on his mail route. Although originally virtual strangers to him he became friends with them and as they grew older he helped them run errands, visit doctors and provided friendship for them in the twilight of their lives.
Of course he did the same for his family; taking care of his sister Theresa for twelve years.
Pat graduated from the Hazleton High School which many of us know as “the castle” in 1954 and many years later he worked to preserve the building which has since been reopened as a middle school. It was a great source of pride for him while he lived. After high school, he spent a short time in the army visiting Texas, Kentucky and Washington D.C. Perhaps it was during this time that he picked up his love for Johnny Cash as he stayed near the base in San Antonio where Cash wrote his famous tune “Folsom Prison Blues”. Not long after returning to Hazleton and starting as a mailman, he married Peggy Fay, my Nana, whom he had two children with. Although their marital relationship did not work out; they remained lifelong friends and my Nana was always near Pat’s side in his last days.
Pat spent his life as a member of the Democratic Party and was always willing to discuss politics; although the debates between him and his son Ric, a conservative, tended to become pretty energized around the dinner table of Pat’s childhood home at 671 Monges Street on Nanny Goat Hill. This home has stayed in the Albano family as his daughter Cindy moved in and took care of him before his health deteriorated to the point of requiring a nursing home where he continued on into his own personal sunset long after Doctors had all but wrote him off.
Life is a garden that one sows throughout life. Moments like Pat’s 65th Birthday; where he danced his feet off; attending a Neil Diamond concert and singing at the top of his lungs with his Daughter-in-law Karyn; or just driving through New York City to see the World Trade Center with his son were the metaphoric fruits of his garden. Simple times like these are the measure of a man’s life. Pat’s garden was full and his 75 years on Earth are something to admire and marvel at but I will not say do not weep; for not all tears are sad.
I’ll leave you all with a quote from the 19th century poet Ralph Waldo Emerson which has been at the forefront of my mind since I received news of my Pap Pap’s passing. It is striking because it not only relates to those of us left in Pat’s absence but to Pat himself wherever he has transcended to.
Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.