jester journals

Weird Ramblings from a Warped Mind


Remembering Dino… 4-14-2015

My friend Dino died last week. We met in 1974 at Jacksonville Junior High. I was in 7th grade. He was an upperclassman… in 9th grade. But that didn’t matter to him.

That was Dino.

He overlooked things like that. If he was your friend… he was your friend. Age… White… Black… Oriental… European… Baptist… Catholic… it didn’t matter to him.

That was Dino.

And he excelled at things. Football for one. Friends was another. It seemed everyone was his friend. Students… teachers… administrators. Even now, nearly 40 years after leaving high school, they are still leaving words of how he encouraged them.

That was Dino.

Other than making friends, I think his greatest asset was his smile. You never saw him without it. And if you didn’t have one… he gave you his. Crest missed a great opportunity in naming him their spokesman.

That was Dino.

He went on to great things after high school. College… a stint at CBS… a successful TV appearance. He became an entrepreneur owning his own business. It seemed everything he touched was blessed.

That was Dino.

And through all that… he never forgot where he came from. He loved his high school and college sports… the Southwest Stallions and ECU Pirates. He always had time for his friends. Getting together… reminiscing.

That was Dino.

In 2010, he learned I had written a book. He contacted me and invited me onto his internet webcast to discuss it. That was HUGE for me and the success of my small project. But it was nothing to him.

That was Dino.

And with all of his busy life… he had time to serve his country in the US Air Force. He enlisted as an Airman and continued on eventually receiving his commission as a Lieutenant and served a total of 14 years. There was always time to serve.

That was Dino.

I spent some time the last few days reading the literally hundreds of tributes on his FaceBook wall and on the Funeral Home website. Time after time reading how folks were devastated by the loss. Beautiful tributes. “A wonderful man with a beautiful smile.” “I think he never met a stranger.” “The world has lost a special person.” “…infectious spirit of friendship…” Many from people who had never had the opportunity to meet him in person… only via the web. Tributes from around the world… Italy, Malaysia, Finland and nearly every state in the union. They each had lost a true friend. Because he had no other kind.

That was Dino.

Sadly, my schedule will not allow me to join with his family and friends at his Celebration of Life service. There will be beautiful music. Stirring tributes. Praise and accolades rightly deserved. I’m comfortable he would understand my absence.

Because… THAT was Dino.

Au revoir, my friend.

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