... a new friend I lost too soon
April 25 2017 As I saw it…
When I arrived at about 4:05pm there were about 45 people listening to Fr. Ronald Barker
issuing a prayer and short commentary on the life of George Dimambro. The priest was in
a rain coat over his clothes and collar. He was wearing sandals and he was very relaxed
in the room with family and friends of George.
There were 12 floral wreaths; one in a small remindful baseball flower pot plus those on
and around the casket.
After Fr. Barker left, the people already seated seemed to relax and the people in the
condolence line started to move closer to the family.
Virginia and George had three sons and one daughter and they stood shaking hands and
thanking people for coming. Virginia was next hugging visitors and calling them by their
names as old friends do. George’s sister Julia sat next handicapped with the use of
There were no tears only an occasional wiping of eyes by Virginia and her daughter.
People knew people as they spoke about remembering George. The TV kept flashing family
pictures of weddings and parties and ball games. There was Christmas with the children
and grandchildren and even views of great grandchildren. A collection of pictures were
displayed on easels before the welcoming line, where pictures of family and friends were
shone having wonderful times with George.
The funeral parlor had a blanket made with a picture of a baseball field and imposed
George’s picture in the center with the dates of birth and passing. February 23 1933-
April 20 2017. Not long enough for those attending his farewell.
Young children were in line with parents because there was no baby sitter available, but
they wanted to be here to pay respects to a man that they cared about. Those with
children did not stay long but headed back out into the rain and home for dinner.
I remember my Mother telling me that rain was a wonderful sign at the passing of someone
so loved. All sorrow is washed away but the memories remain as the sunshine will always
come out after the showers are gone.
The line did not end as people came to talk to the family an then to kneel and issue a
farewell prayer to George. There were people that knew George as they were children and
now they brought their children to say goodbye to him.
People were smiling and hugging and the line continued about 20 people at a time; young
and old people, friends of George and his family.
There were people that knew George from the various sports areas. They knew him from the
neighborhood and the school where he played. He was a sportsman, you name it and he
enjoyed the thrill of the games. Hockey, football, baseball and boxing, he even got a
few strikes in at the bowling alley.
People came without end; people from the church, from the neighborhoods where Virginia
and George lived; friends and neighbors just wanting to say goodbye to a great guy.
The line slowed down a bit as it continued to pour outside. Virginia was caught wiping
away a tear now and again but still smiling and greeting those who stood in line. I
wonder if she knows her glasses are on her head.
At 4:30 there were 105 lines filled in the registration book; some single names some
family names. The count of about 150 people passing through for the purpose of paying
respect to a man they all cared about and loved. He was a gentle man, kind and
it was easy to like him; and so many did.
People sat or stood talking about the memories of the past and questions of the future.
“I remember George when…..”; “Do you remember when George did….” “Boy was it fun when
George…..”; “Boy what a great time we had when George did….”. These are just friends
talking and smiling and remembering George. On and on the stories spread around the room
in pieces of outspoken voices, not muted or sad but smiling at the remembering’s.
People knelt at the coffin leaving prayers of peace for the family and for George as he
was heading for his peaceful place.
Friends came in groups or alone and they stood to pay their respects to Virginia and her
family. It was not a sad time, but a time to smile and remember a great guy.
At 4:55 the line ended for a few minutes when people younger and older started to leave
before it got dark and dreary in the outside rain. Now, only a few more minutes and a
few more people have arrived. The family will check the sign in book later and remember
those names but for now just a hug and a handshake and “Thanks for coming” will be
There is only one little girl sitting up front with her Mother viewing the scene around
her. I wonder who she is and what her thoughts are. It really would not be nice to ask
so I just watch her as she seems to be quite happy in her Mother’s lap getting the
attention of the people around her.
5:08 and another line has started; after work people some signing the book and some just
getting in to leave a Mass card or prayer with the family at George’s passing. 5:26 and
a full line again; more hugs, more handshakes, more friends. Men are in jeans and
business suits or casually dressed. Women, mostly in pants, but a few ladies in skirts
and high boots; just friends being friends.
The 16 seats up front are empty now but there are about 20 people resting comfortably on
the seats around the sides of the room; one young lady checking her E-mail or pictures
as she passes the phone around. It is a casual gathering, these are friends. There is
another room across the hall where a few men are sitting and probably reminiscing about
their time with George.
There is a moment to rest for Virginia so I go over to get my hug and a promise of lunch
sometime soon. Now there are more friends in line stopping at the sons and daughter and
making their way to Virginia and finally to say their goodbyes to George.
By 6:30 there are 160 lines filled in on the reception sign in book. I have seen many
people arriving and leaving without signing in even after their condolence visit.
There are small groups laughing and talking about George’s life. How they met and what
they did together; there were people pointing out pictures on the pedestal bringing back
happy memories. The life and times of George Dimambro are being discussed openly and
happily by the people still here at 6:50pm.
I left at 7:00pm not knowing how many more people will come to say their goodbyes to
George; but I did leave my prayers for his peace and the families’ strength in
It is still raining as I rush to the now almost empty parking lot.
I had only met George a few times but it was enough to like him,(as many did). His body
will be cremated and his ashes thrown to the many winds to hover over us from sports
By the way George, they cancelled the ballgame tonight, you can check it out from heaven
when you get a chance.
May 5, 2017