When you’re a kid with siblings you wonder if you’ll ever like them. At least that was the case for me. One of my brothers was always in the bathroom too long while I waited my turn. Or we fought over who had taken the most meatballs that my mother made with spaghetti every Sunday.
But then you grow up and realize that your two brothers are among your most treasured friends, admirers and supporters. You love them and have a special relationship that endures through marriages, children, job changes, and life, as you grow old together.
Then, one day, you lose a brother.
My beloved brother Al (left) – the middle child of three – died last week. It was a brief illness. He contracted a staph infection and no matter how hard the dedicated doctors as Mass General Hospital tried, they couldn’t save him. That’s how devastating these nasty infections are.
Al, who exercised everyday for an hour in his home gym and ate all the right foods. How could this possibly happen to such a loving, generous, kind and accomplished man?
Al was the scientist in the family. He attended Alfred University where he earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Ceramic Engineering. Then he went on to earn his Sc.D. at MIT, all while raising a young family. While at Raytheon, he was loaned out to Congress as a resident scientist in the Office of Technology Assessment, advising on legislation.
His greatest success came when he joined a venture capital firm as its resident technology guru. He eventually became general partner and helped to start many successful companies.
As a child of Italian immigrants, Al embodied the American dream. But he never forgot his roots. Unlike many people who achieve great financial success, he was always there to help a child, or sister, or mother or brother. He gave back to his alma mater, and was on the Board of Trustees of Alfred University for many years, because he wanted to help young people starting out to achieve their dreams, too.
He loved his family — his lovely wife Susan, his four children and his grandchildren. A few years ago, he threw a big party for his extended family. There must have been 30 of us there for a long weekend, eating barbecue on his back patio and horsing around in the pool at his club. What fun!
Oh, Al, how I will miss you. You have left a lasting legacy in the companies you built, the family you raised and the lives you touched with your goodness. Rest in peace, dear brother.