Monthly Archives: March 2015

Luanne Castagna

Jack Gulino was my uncle, and was truly loved and admired by my entire family.  As far back as I can remember Jackie, (as I always called him)
always had a great big smile on his face.   When him and Trisha got married, I was honored to be a bridesmaid in their wedding.  Jackie was the kind of person who was always there for the family.  He was truly the kindest, warm-hearted person I knew,  who always had a positive attitude and a kind word for everyone. I admire everything he accomplished in his short life.  He will always be remembered and hold a special place in all of our hearts.  Love you Jackie…. RIP.    We will miss you

A Eulogy, Of Sorts

My brother-in-law Jack passed away just over a week ago. His services were this week, so it has been a little bit insane around here.

We’ve had enough deaths in the family and extended family over the past few years where the rituals all seem very familiar, but not any less painful. Call the funeral home, schedule the Mass, pick the readings, set up the website, etc. It’s the business of death, and you’re on a timer. It’s ugly, and you don’t get a lot of time to reflect.

Jack was the one person in my collection of in-laws that I should have been closer to – and I don’t really know why I wasn’t. He lived only twenty or so miles away, he was an IT manager (like me – but his role was much more important), he was middle-aged (like me), he was married to a Pesce (like me.) The list goes on and on. I guess I didn’t make enough of an effort. Plus, he was always busy, helping someone somewhere – either at work or Church.

Something that occurred to me after he was buried this week – When my Mom-in-law passed away, I thought, “No more pain.” When my Dad passed away, I thought “No more arguments.” When Jack passed away, I thought “That should have been me.”

Not “could“, but “should.”

I’m not sure why I thought I should be dead instead of Jack. Possibly because I had a Doppler test that showed my carotid arteries were blocked 20 – 30% the day before he collapsed at work. I was told that nothing was done until you hit 70% or so. My doctor changed my blood pressure medication, and that was it.

So, I may have bad arteries, but not bad enough to fix.

Jack had a bad heart. The physical one. It was functioning at 45% at his last test, but his doctor didn’t think he needed a pacemaker. So, he had a bad heart, but not bad enough to fix.

I am a bit concerned about doctors and their advice now.

While Jack had a bad physical heart, his spiritual heart was larger than almost anyone I know.  He had at least three families – his biological one with his wife, daughters and relatives; his spiritual one, as he was a Deacon at his Church; and his business one, since he was a manager at Verizon.

All of his families came to pay their respects. In force.

It was selfish, I suppose, that one of my thoughts the day after he passed away was, “Please, Lord, don’t make me do another eulogy.” Luckily for me, there were plenty of people who had spent more time with him that stepped up to the challenge, from all of his families.

Not that I wouldn’t have done one. I would have talked about arena football and baseball and statistics and cruises and Mojitos, which were not covered at length by those who knew him from Church or work.

There are times you realize you are close to someone from a familial sense, but not close at all in another. Jack managed a test lab at Verizon – his team validated equipment before it was placed into service in the Verizon network. I finally found out what he did after he passed away. I started my career in telecom almost thirty years ago, helping run a small long distance company’s computer center. We had that in common, and we never talked about it, because I never found out about it.

If you don’t know what your relatives do, go find out. You may be surprised.

Jack and I had baseball in common, but you just don’t talk much during baseball games – and I’m not sure I ever heard him curse, and if a game was playing somewhere, it was probably also on the TV at Jack’s house.

My wife and I had season tickets to the Grand Prairie AirHogs for years, and we never got him to a game. I feel guilty and disappointed at the same time about that.

I will always be grateful to Jack that my wife knows as much about sports as she does, and it’s because he taught her by taking her to games while she was growing up. I have to explain very little to her, which has saved me a lot of time and stress.

I could have asked him how to survive an Italian-American wife, because if he could have explained that, it would have been one of the miracles he needs for Sainthood.

When I got promoted to manager at IBM last year, Jack was the one person around me that had a similar title and experiences – and he had been doing it for years.

Jack had a team that loved him (which was demonstrated at the vigil and funeral.) Jack was my best possible source of information and advice on how to survive Corporate America as a newly-minted manager – especially since all of the managers who worked with me were busy rearranging deck chairs during our latest reorganization.

I let that opportunity just pass me by. It just never occurred to me to ask Jack to go have a cup of coffee (or three) and have him explain how the world of management works.

I am really disappointed in myself for that.

So, now I can just hope Jack will watch me and guide me from above. I think a manager’s greatest accomplishment is to be genuinely missed by his team. Death is the most sudden way to leave the corporation, but I think every manager should aspire to having his team think, “What are we going to do now?” and not just “Who do we get stuck with next?” whenever he moves on to the next challenge, either here or in the next world.

Jack’s team is wondering what they are going to do now.

I’m wondering what I’m going to do now.

I miss you, Jack. Thanks for all the times you were there. The times you weren’t are on me.

Lizette and David Belloni

I will never forget Jack’s ever present smile. He always greeted people with a smile and made you feel like you were the most important person he would speak to that day.
Thank you for being ever faithful to others.
We will never forget you.

The Duncan Family

You were such an inspiration to our family Deacon Jack and we thank you for your friendship & prayers for our family through the years. For many years of sharing faith & fellowship in RCIA, your ACTS times with Jon filled with encouraging words, and you presiding over my mom’s memorial and checking in on me afterwards, we thank you for all you gave to us. You always made a point to connect with our kiddos and you were a wonderful example of the kindness, faithfulness, and love of Christ. We will miss you and will hold your memories in our hearts. We lift up your dear wife Trish, your children, your family, our deacons & priests and all your family at SEAS in prayers of comfort. Deepest Admiration, The Duncan Family Jon, Tiffany, Lucy, Leah, and Luke 

Cody Serra

I never talked with him other than passing by. I listened to some of his inspiring, down to earth homilies, and felt his heart beats. I saw in him the kindness and compassionate ways of a holy Jesus’ servant. I trusted him without ever having a real personal conversation with him. He mirrored so well his faith and God’s love to everyone he encountered! He will be missed for so many… I wished I had told Jack how much I trusted and appreciated him. His spirit will remain with us. May he intercede for his big family on earth from his new glorious home in Heaven 

Agata e Rosario Buffa (Palermo)

We met Jack and Trish many years ago, when they came to Palermo (Italy) to meet Jack’s Sicilian family: he wanted to know its origins and relatives in Sicily (we were his cousins). At once we realized that Jack was a special person: his face expressed joy and his eyes were full of love for all. He didn’t like to be a sightseer, because he wanted to spend time with the “family”, with all of us. When Jack and Trish went home, we were sorry and we cried because we realized that we were losing a friend. After so many years, we still remember what he said before leaving: “do not cry for me, I love you”, but he was crying. Now we say: “Rest in Peace Jack, we love you”

Lee Cunningham

For several years, I had the opportunity to work with Jack and his group in Richardson. Whenever I would visit Jack’s office, he was welcoming, good-humored, enthusiastic, and straight-forward. His group respected his leadership, but they also looked up to and liked him as a person. So did I. 

Denise Cason

I was so saddened to hear this – I went through RCIA when Jack and his wife were sponsors and helpers. Such a loss for our parish. I pray that his family is comforted during this difficult time. 

Derek Chu

My condolence to Jack’s family. I’ve worked with Jack through the years. He is really a nice person. He will be missed.

Anne Tran

We moved here in May 2006 when I was pregnant with my 2nd daughter. Shortly after that, my husband and I attended the baptism class taught by Deacon Jack and liked him very much. My daughter Dorothea, who was born in June 2006 (baptized by Deacon Bill) also has involved in children’s activities at the church, just like Deacon Jack. Deacon Jack read the prayers with Dorothea in last Saturday’s mass. That’s why we were shocked to learn about this sad news. He was very gently, caring, and friendly. We met him a few times at grocery stores with his wife and mother. We also met him almost every week at church and my children loved to talk to him. We will keep him and his family in our prayers. Tran’s family