|Nicholas C. Gagliano, 9/4/1924 - 7/16/2009|
Eulogy by Nick Gagliano, Jr. (son, read by Charles Inverso, nephew)
The grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you all. Words cannot describe my melancholy due to my absence. I am completely out of control of the circumstances that has occurred.
Living with my dad was an exercise in belief in a strong faith, tenacity, never quit and always doing your best. When I was a kid I was always so proud of my father, especially walking with him on the streets from his office to the Hall of Justice. We could not walk 10 feet with out one of his colleagues greeting him with high exultations. There was no love lost between the judges who served Monroe County due to my father's presence in the courtroom. His service to his country as a veteran of WWII guaranteed the rights of all present. My father's sense of morality, dignity for all human beings should be bottled and seasoned through out our ailing society. Nick & Molly's marriage is a shining example for all those entering the sacrament of matrimony.
God bless you dad. The sweet embrace of the risen Christ awaits you for eternity. Good-bye Dad, I love you and I will miss you.
Eulogy by Mary Ann Holcomb (duaghter)
My dad he would always be the one up here doing the eulogy for someone. In his own way I feel he helped me with this. He left many writings and notes around the house & I'll share a few of them with you.
My dad could have been the poster child for love. The second reading from Corinthians was his favorite psalm. My daughter Emily showed me a paper that he wrote out for each of my daughters & on the bottom he wrote I hope to read this at your wedding. He had this other paper in his address book with the poem "how do I love thee, let me count the ways-a favorite poem of his. My dad loved poetry. I won't read the whole poem but it ends with "I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears of all my life and if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death. Under this he hand wrote "parting is such sweet sorrow"
He just loved life & people & found joy in everything.
He loved and missed my mom so, so much. So many days he would tell me how much he missed mom. My daughter Emily told me that he told my girls " some people ask me why not date again Nick-I tell them it would be just too confusing in heaven, there would be 2 women and I just want to be with grandma". Jess said he would always talk to them about 7 levels of heaven & he didn't care what level he was on as long as he was there with my mom. He slept in her bed the night he died-something he never did. On his desk was this book he read daily "my living counselor". My daughter Julia brought it to me the day he died and showed it to me.
On the back of the book he wrote a quote-grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time Goodness, remembrance & love have no end"
One of my dad's qualities was his ability to forgive people and to forget their shortcomings. As an example: His dog prince would frequently take off and be lost for several hours at a time. The dog would be tied up the next day with the same knotted clothesline (with one more knot) and My father would say with such certainty " Mary Ann, that dog respects a leash."
Anybody whoever got into a debate about politics with my father knows that he would never give up.
Until his death he was going strong-living and loving life & of course sharing candy & sweets with us all.
Jerry would stop by frequently to get something notorized-a quick 5 minute process. But Jerry & he would talk usually for at least 2 hours. He shared all kinds of stories with Jerry & I think Jerry knows them better than I.
I know any one that stepped foot into our house could always feel the love and warmth from my mom & dad. My mom would feed you & my father had the desserts covered. The one problem was the desserts many times would come right before dinner.
I can remember so many times when mom sent dad to the store for a loaf of bread-then she'd wonder what was taking him so long & he'd come back with cookies, candy ice cream etc.
I know all of you have wonderful memories about him and I just thank him for surrounding me with such beautiful friends and family.
Appropriately today in this book he would have read this and I felt strongly as though he wanted this read-July 21-morning:It's titled "The godly shall live in your presence" & it ends with "Happy are those whose hearts are pure for they shall see God. When I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see you face to face"
Dad, I know you're with the Lord now & you're up there with mom & catching up on things-seeing your parents and mom's whole side of the family who have been waiting patiently for you. Hopefully they'll give you a chance to talk between all mom's brother's & sister's. A quote my dad would always say & made sure his granddaughters understood and how he lived his life "Carpe Diem." Sieze the day.
Happy everlasting life dad. I love you and we all miss you so much.
Eulogy by Rick Gagliano (son)
Big band music, a hot craps table, a strong legal argument, pro football, Molly, the only true love of his life, his kids and his grandchildren... those are the things that made up the life of Nick Gagliano.
Today, he is reunited with his wife Molly, and they look down upon us together, happy in that, but forlorn in that they could not be here with loved ones, relatives and friends. Like Molly before him, Nick left this world without much of a fuss, not long, debilitating illness, but rather a quick departure without so much as a goodbye.
So I guess now is when we - those left living can say our goodbyes. Goodbye Nick, war hero, tireless legal researcher, seeker of justice, animal lover, husband, father and for me, my best friend.
Those of you who knew Nick Gagliano well knew him as a man who loved life, was always in search of a good time for everyone, but also a man you did not want to cross, especially when it came to legal matters. I'm probably close when I say that he likely did legal work or at least offered a legal opinion to over 90% of the people here today. That was just the way he was: if he could help, and it was easy, often there wasn't even a fee, and even when there was, it was always reasonable. My mother always told him to charge more. For everybody's sake, he never listened.
To me personally, he more than just the ideal father, typecast right out of Ozzie and Harriet or Leave it to Beaver, but also was the perfect friend. The guy who wouldn't pull punches when you were wrong, but also the same guy who would be there when the rest of the world seemed to be fighting against you.
He was the most dependable, honest, straightforward man I ever knew and I'm not ashamed to say that though I might try, I'll probably never live up to the high standards he set for integrity, honesty, forthrightness and loyalty to family, God and country.
His faith in God was unshakable, his love for his family knew no bounds and as for his country, well, he fought in the worst World War ever, in the Battle of the Bulge, a fateful turning point in the war and in history. It was there that the Germans were defeated and the Allies began to turn the tide and march toward victory. We are all forever in debt to Nick Gagliano and the fellow soldiers, most of them barely more than boys who fought so valiantly for freedom, righteousness and good.
Now, at his passing, we have one more opportunity to envision his greatness embodied in his modesty, to wish him safe passage upon his final journey, and to thank him for being the man he was. As people say about men and women of his generation: they don't make them like him any more.
Tribute for Attorneys, Monroe County Bar Assn., Nov. 6, 2009 (written by Rick Gagliano)
Nick Gagliano was an exemplary man, his high moral integrity fired in the trenches of World War II. By the age of 22 he had witnessed and participated in more hazard and human suffering than most people would experience in a lifetime. Like most veterans, he barely spoke of his war experiences, yet he carried the wounds and memories from those horrible days deep in his psyche. In some ways, they molded him - and many men like him - into the paragons of excellence which made our nation great and safe for future generations.
A devout man, he rarely missed church on any Sunday, even into his advanced years. Though he suffered from ill health in those later days, attendance at Sunday mass was more than merely a duty to him, it was sacrifice, and honor, thanks and praise for his almighty God, the God that helped him through war, guided him in peace and brought him peace of mind in a turbulent world.
The high moral character that led him from the war to the practice of law served him well for many years. His practice was largely a reflection of his humanity and a place of solace and solemnity. While much of his time was devoted to the defense of criminals, Nick was never shy about giving those same clients bits of advice on correct living. In fact, he was such a moral man that he steadfastly refused to take on divorce or drug cases, both of which practices he considered immoral.
The few times people came to him seeking divorces, he counseled rather than quoting fees, asking the couples to consider the needs of their children before those of their own. Though many of these types surely ended in divorce, more than a few marriages were salvaged through his words of counsel.
Nick's refusal to handle drug cases stemmed from his experiences with the people who dealt and used them, whom he found to be so disreputable and devoid of human caring that he would rather defend a crook, a killer or just about any other criminal type rather than expose himself to their type of behavior. To him, drug dealers were guilty, not only of their crime, but of a far more serious offense - that of the destruction of minds, bodies and spirits. Nick saw the ravages of addiction first-hand in jails and on the streets and desired to have no part of that. To him, defending such types was anathema to how he viewed human existence. These were the purveyors of depravity, thieves of joy and understanding, vessels of evil to be avoided, and he did. More than a few clients were turned away from his desk.
What drove Nick Gagliano to achieve his personal greatness was a devotion to God, family and country, those time-worn, corny principles which have led so many to full and complete lives of happiness and satisfaction. Residing above even those high principles was his acute sense of justice, which could be seen in his every waking moment. Perhaps not the most skilled jurist, Nick was a tireless researcher, studious of the law in defense of his clients and a voice and force for those who could neither understand nor afford proper legal representation. Fees were secondary in his practice. Doing right by his clients, regardless of their standing in life or ability to pay, was his solitary mission.
Never at a loss to lend a hand, Nick worked with various fraternal and charitable groups over the years, including the Men's Club at St. Margaret Mary's, the Italian-American War Veterans and a number of others, but his goodness and charity were always at hand. Giving to others was his way of quietly saying thanks for all he had been afforded in life: a loving wife, three good children, a happy home, a steady practice and a clear conscience.
Nick Gagliano lived a full and rich life on this earth mostly because he employed integrity and honesty in all that he did and inspired those same qualities in others.
Nick Gagliano was a graduate of Cornell Law school and served as a member of the bar for nearly 60 years. Born in 1924, he was 84 upon his death on July 16, 2009 and still practicing. He is survived by three children and three grandchildren.
Link to Molly Gagliano page.