TO KNOW JOE WAS VERY EASY. HE WAS ALWAYS THE SAME, LOVING, DEPENDABLE, HARD WORKING AND TRUE TO HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS. Before his parents moved to Bond Street in Hartford, some of Joe's earliest memories include living with them on Front Street, in the Italian section of Hartford, over Marholin's furniture store. The family then relocated to the town of Wilson where Joe was an alter boy for three years. He loved living there because it was just a short walk away from his favorite cousin George. Summers were a favorite time for Joe especially when he spent the days of summer in the Bronx across the street from Yankee Stadium with...
TO KNOW JOE WAS VERY EASY. HE WAS ALWAYS THE SAME, LOVING, DEPENDABLE, HARD WORKING AND TRUE TO HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
Before his parents moved to Bond Street in Hartford, some of Joe's earliest memories include living with them on Front Street, in the Italian section of Hartford, over Marholin's furniture store. The family then relocated to the town of Wilson where Joe was an alter boy for three years. He loved living there because it was just a short walk away from his favorite cousin George. Summers were a favorite time for Joe especially when he spent the days of summer in the Bronx across the street from Yankee Stadium with his cousins. And then there was, of course, Sound View beach in Old Saybrook. The family purchased their first home and moved to East Hartford where he continued school graduating in 1955.
The highlight of his high school years was, of course baseball, playing for the varsity team No. 10, for four years. He played shortstop, Phil Rizzuto style and was an excellent player – even scouted by the New York Yankees. College was his goal and he attended UCONN with the required ROTC transferring to New Britain Teacher's College majoring in math. During his time in New Britain he was drafted and given 30 days to get his affairs in order. That meant he had to drop out of school and lose his part-time job. He was given a deferment but was now out of school and without a job. Luckily General Electric offered him a chance to participate in a pilot program, computer science, and he jumped at it. Passing with flying colors he took a full time position with the company staying until his retirement (then Bull/Honeywell) in 1991. He loved his career, the challenges, the excitement, and the development of the things we now all use, new today but old tomorrow. He advanced from programmer to Senior Technical Adviser with a wide range of experience as technician, instructor, administrator and manager. His ability to handle multiple tasks with a heavy work load, while paying strict attention to details and coordinating diversified operations, made him an asset to the company and to his many accounts. Math and a combination of a keen memory for details and procedures, his communication skills, his adaptability and initiative was second nature to him and provided him with a solid foundation in his successful business career. His ability to design specific systems for various applications was an outstanding feature in the company's overall advancement in the computer race.
Somewhere during this time Joe managed to get married to his high school sweetheart Corinne and have six children. Own two homes, one with a backyard pool the other with a front yard ocean, have 12 grandchildren, and after retirement travel with his wife Corinne and Ruth and George and Pat and Bob. Both homes were always open to everyone, family, friends and our wonderful neighbors. Joe and George played golf at St. Andrew's in Scotland. Found the Italian District in London. Traveled throughout Ireland and braked and played at every course in every town. Golf was now his passion. Traveling through Italy with our dear friends Pat and Bob, he stopped at almost every church and Cathedral from Rome to Venice and back and finally the thrills of a lifetime, to be escorted by the Swiss Guard into the auditorium to see John Paul II and wave to and be seen by Mother Teresa. Our trip to Egypt – well what can one say – sailing on the Nile - what an experience.
Joe was a member of the Dutch Elm Golf Course in Arundel Maine where he played almost every day until his illness took him back to Connecticut, just a few weeks ago and the Kennebunkport Historical Society in Kennebunkport Maine. He was a little league umpire in Manchester CT for many years. He played baseball until he was 55 years old. He taught his boys how to hunt and taught all of his children how to fish. "His children and his wife are Yankee fans". He tutored his children and grandchildren math skills and so loved doing so. And, he loved being the taxi that took them to and from nursery school with maybe a stop at Mrs. Murphy's Donut Shop and going to their baseball games from time to time.
He loved his entire family, his parents, his sister Martha and husband Jack and his brother Bob and wife Joy and their children, aunts, uncles and cousins and would do anything for them. He cared for his wife's family as he would his own providing care for Corinne's mother for many years at Laurel Gardens now Buckingham Estates and welcoming extended family members at both homes especially at the beach and with Uncle Art and Aunt Jo – so many stories – so much fun – and so many Cadbury bars.
What Joe gave to all of us, his family and his friends, is his simplicity and honesty. Above all, he taught us how to live, how to laugh and most important, how to love.
To my father my hero – These words I'm about to write, come from the deepest part of my existence, the ink of this pen flows like the blood of our hearts, for I am you. To start you are an awesome father, my life has been so rich, and I owe this to my parents and siblings. I could not have had a better father. My life has been like a Disney story. A few stumbles, but that's how life goes. I want you to know how successful I am in my life, mentally, physically and emotionally. My home is warm and paid for, built mostly by my hands and means. I have a beautiful woman I love dearly, great friends, amazing dogs, clean air and water, the best food money can by. I live like a king. I'm now ready to take on a family of my own, getting married and having children is now my new journey in life. Dad you've come full circle in your life, you too have lived the dream, a most beautiful wonderful wife, great kids, two wonderful homes, great friends and much, much more. You have done it. You have lived in the best time man has ever lived on this great earth. My oldest memory of you dad, I think is at the beach when you brought me out over my head and let me go. I remember holding you so tightly, I was shivering, and relying on your confidence in me. Well I took the plunge and that was the plunge that was heard around the world for me. From then on I've gone head first into everything I've ever done. I remember you taking me to the property in Manchester before building on it, telling me we were going hunting, you brought out your pocket knife and let me hold it. Then those two favorite words of mine: Johnny D'Aquila's, wow what a fishing hole, I bet we took record bass and didn't know it or care. You have been a great influence in my life, and a big reason for any success I may claim. During all my climbs, floats, dog sledding and journeys I've always thought of you knowing you probably wondered why the hell I would do something like that. Well it was the plunge. You are and always will be a great man, go in peace and happiness, like you always said "you have nothing to cry about you did it"! It won't be long before all of us face the journey you're preparing to take. You will be greatly missed. I love you so much. You know the events that are happening in your lives are the natural path of things. At some point life is going to change dramatically for all of us. You are constantly in my thoughts and hope you can receive some of the strength I have been saving for you and sending your way. You are much loved and missed. Your loving son, Jerome Raymond Longo (IV).
Dear Dad – It's the morning I leave for Maine and for the first time in my life I don't want to go. It's not that I don't want to be there because I know you know that it's my happy place. It's the place where I go to that seems to take all my troubles away. It's that way because of you and Mom. I get to spend time with you, listen to your stories, and you listen to mine. We share memories and laugh. I can't ever remember a time when I was sad there. You and Mom sacrificed so much for us, you worked hard all your life, and you've always made me feel so special and loved. There are no words to describe how special you are to me and how deeply you are loved. Thank you for all the beautiful memories. I will cherish them for the rest of my life. I will never forget. All my love, Jan
Dear Dad – I've wanted to sit down and write you a letter because I have been writing it in my head and my heart for the past few weeks. My fear is that I won't be able to put into words what I feel in my heart or that I will forget to say something. I walked the beach this morning and it was one of the most beautiful walks I have taken in my life. I have you to thank for this great life. I have you to thank for giving me the most beautiful place to go for 32 years. I pictured you walking down in your red bathing suit, plopping your chair down and saying "Ahhh life styles of the rich and famous." I do feel like the richest person on this beach right now because of all the love I feel in my heart. That is what you said being rich is and you were right. Thank you for filling my life with love. I love you Dad! Jan
Dear Dad – Everyone thinks they have the best Dad. I, however, not only have the best Dad, I have the perfect Dad and you are the perfect Dad for me! xoxo…Jan
Dear Dad – Pete, Brock and Max have arrived. We spent the afternoon on the beach catching up, listening to baseball stories, playing games and watching the kids swim. Reid brought the dog down (yes, it was after 6:00) and swam with him. The water has been warm. It is great to be "living in the moment." Not rushing around and not having a schedule. I do miss you and Mom terribly. It's quiet here. I didn't realize how much noise you and Mom made (hahaha)! Now I know how it must have felt each time we left. Dad, I think about you all the time and wish this all wasn't happening. I will continue to pray and I will continue to tell you I love you every day. I love you! Jan
Dear Dad – Summers, the seasons and our lives will never be the same. But, all the beautiful memories will remain. Love you, Jan
To My Everything Dad,
A little girl needs her daddy
To love her with manly charm,
To soothe her when she's hurt,
And keep her safe from harm.
A girl needs her dad
To show her a man who's good,
To help her make right choices
As only a father could.
A woman needs her father
Just to be aware,
He'll always be there for her
To sustain her and to care.
By Joanna Fuchs
You've been all these things Dad. I hope that you can see how much I treasure and love you; you mean everything. Love from your daughter, Jan
My Fond memories of Joe
It was a little over four years ago that we were introduced- a formality of sorts, meeting John's parents. He was described to me as Giant Joe. The doorbell rang and he and Corinne stood outside John's door, I questioned myself on why I decided to wear heels that day. Giant Joe stood there at about 5'5" with a warm smile on his face. I knew then there was more to this nickname and it wasn't measured in inches.
See, once you spend anytime with Joe you understand what I mean. Joe was larger than life. He was a breath of fresh air, funny beyond words, sweet, smart and always loved a good chat about almost anything. He was a man that instantly made you feel at ease. When he spoke, you listened, but he was also a gentle man. He loved to speak about his talented children and grandchildren and tell stories about the trips he took with Corinne in addition to the many adventures of raising six children all born within a span of 10 years.
Joe would make me laugh. He loved to tell stories. One of my favorites is when he received his 10 cent refund from the phone company for the text message that he didn't authorize from Jan. It didn't matter that he had spent thirty minutes on the phone. It was the principle of it all. He was a man of principle. He didn't always do the talking; sometimes he asked me questions too…. like what kind of phone plan did I have and how can he get the Merrill Lynch discount. We were friends.
Joe and I got to spend some special time together at his favorite place and now one of my favorite's too- Goose Rocks Beach. This is where I really got to know him and where I came to appreciate his storytelling. After John and I would settle in from a day at the beach we would sit down for dinner with Joe and Corinne. This was the place, sitting at the head of the table where story time usually occurred. There were many stories about when he dated Corinne when she was a teenager, about his days as a busy Dad playing baseball, traveling and paving his way though successful years as a computer specialist and then enjoying retirement playing the golf course up in Maine. I learned more about the challenges and the rewards of his full life. I heard Joe's hilarious description of John as a young boy, in which he describes his son born without a neck, with just a huge head that sat on his shoulders. Apparently, it was quite a challenge to find shirts with holes large enough to fit over it. Luckily for John and me, he grew into his head and even sprouted a nice neck up from his shoulders.
Then there was the time when John was 4 years old and was not getting enough attention. He decided he was not going to speak or respond to anyone, evidently for a couple of days. Corinne feared that he may have a hearing problem. So when Joe came home from work they took him to the doctor. They tried everything to startle him….nothing! It was then as the doctor was wrapping up the appointment, still unable to get a peep out of John when Joe tricked him into answering if he wanted a lollipop. John was quick to answer him! That instantly cleared up John's hearing loss problem.
Joe, thank you for sharing and coloring these and so many other stories for me. I will cherish all of them along with the wonderful times we shared. I will miss you, but I will never forget you.
Love, Sheila aka Sylvia
PS. As I have thanked you before, I want to thank you again for giving me the greatest gift, your son John.
Grandpa – I've always wanted to express how deeply proud I am to be part of your family. You're an amazing grandfather, father, husband, brother, and an absolutely wonderful man. I'm so glad we made those trips to get donuts. You always told me how I never shut up! P.S. I'm learning Italian! I love you more than anything grandpa and I sincerely mean that. Love always, Becki Rose
Brother - Every caring wish for you has a caring thought behind it. You are in our thoughts and prayers. J & B
Uncle Joe – Thinking of you today and hoping that you can draw strength from others who care about you. I love you. Will come to see you soon! Take care of yourself. Donna M.
Godchild – Dear Joe and Corinne, We really missed you at the beach! Got you a souvenir*!! Love you, Jean ("*Samoyed FUR.")
Cousin – Dear Joe – you know, it's really hard to come up with just 1 or 2 funny stories that involve you! You've blessed our lives with so many laughs and good times. We laugh just thinking of them! Our all-time favorite story happened on day on George's deck … you guys were trying to put a grill together. We remember hearing that there was a big explosion, you both jumped off the deck into the bushes, escaping with singed eyebrows. Hearing you two tell that story was probably one of the funniest memories I have of my Dad and you. Joe, we're sorry to hear that you're sick, but we're sure you are able to sneak a joke in every now and then. Joey, you have been a very special part of our lives. We're sending all of our love and prayers. Love, Marsha, Roger, Lauren, Eva and Nathan.
Cousin – Dear Joey, over the years I haven't really seen you very much and I never really got to know you all that well. But what I do know is that you were real good to George and I thank you for that. I miss him a lot. Everyone always tells me how much fun you guys had together. I wish that we could go get George out of heaven to play just one game of golf together with us. I miss your laugh. Every time I eat gnocchi I think about our dinners at the Drive-By in Hartford and I can hear your laugh. Have a good summer. See you soon. Love, Kyle
Cousin – Joe, I love you! Lee
Dear Grandpa Longo, (Poem by Tara Alosky)
Dear Grandpa Longo,
You lighten up the room with your big beautiful smile
But the room is now dim.
Your laugh stands out of the crowd.
But we can't hear you.
Your jokes crack everyone up.
But no one is laughing.
You bring sun and bright skies to the day.
But it's raining and cloudy.
Your kisses were so meaningful.
But we feel nothing.
Your hugs were so warm.
But it's so cold.
This is not the end.
One day, we'll feel warmth of the sun, your arms and kisses put
Smiles on our faces.
We'll love and cherish every moment, like we did here.
Now that you're gone, things have changed.
But somehow we'll be strong, and find the strength you had within
We'll feel your love as the day's move on slowly.
We'll brighten up the room with the soul of you.
Dear Grandpa Longo,
I love you.
RIP. Tara and Bianca
Dear Joe. I can't tell you how sorry I am to hear that you're ill again. You looked wonderful when I recently saw you – both you and Corinne looked just as you did when I was babysitting for you 40+ years ago. Please don't think a serious illness means God doesn't love you. He loves you dearly and desperately, more than you'll ever know. Allow Him to be with you and strengthen you every day. Praying for God's blessing for you, Corinne and your family.
REMEMBERANCES AND LETTERS TO JOE FROM FRIENDS
The following is a tribute to this humble, wonderful man. Never expecting a thank you from anyone at any time, no job too large or too small. It was read by the author as part of a Sunday Mass in 2003. It has been condensed omitting only the names of the people being thanked by the author for their support and care.
A TRIBUTE TO JOE
August 17, 2010 To: John Longo
From: Bob Russell
Re: Letter sent to your father
Aunt Jo retrieved this letter for your mother and asked that I fax it to you for the website being planned for your dad. Typical of Joe – I never heard this story until about a year ago. My sincere sympathy to you and Sheila – your brothers and sisters and of course your dear mother. Your father was a wonderful man. I am certain that my dear Betty was the first to greet him in heaven. Peace, Bob Russell.
"Christmas 2003" My dear Family & Friends, As I sit to write these words, I recognize they will fall far short of how I feel deep inside. Writing this letter, while long overdue, has been pondered for a while. And it seems to me that Advent is a perfect time for me to recommit and reclaim what is truly important. Taking a cue from a spiritual author who advocates the act of celebrating as "faithful imaging," I wish to honor and celebrate the blessings I have received because of your ongoing love and concern. The long road to physical recovery has been an experience of countless miracles. I remember vividly how I felt as the events surrounding my unfortunate accident unfolded; the feeling of utter dread as that tractor ran over my body (Am I going to die?); the pain, the ambulance ride to Southern Maine Medical Center; the long wait in the emergency room; the x-rays, the cleaning, stitching, and bandaging of my wounds; that first wonderful shot of morphine; the transfer to Maine Medical Center; the poking and prodding in the triage unit; the CT Scan (no additional internal injuries!!!); the further relief that came with pain medications, the announcement that "no surgery will be needed"; the unending flow of minor physical victories; the weeks of rehab at New England Rehab Hospital; the first time I went outside in my wheelchair to catch a breath of fresh air (at least it was fresh to me) the first time I could bathe on my own; the physical therapy; the occupational therapy; and all the progress since. I am not exaggerating when I say that my life has changed completely. On June 25, I made a fundamental choice to focus what is positive – not to yield with what is wrong or could go wrong, but to support the hopeful and the good! All the changes and setbacks I have experienced over the last sixteen months now pale in comparison to the power and goodness of the gift of life sustained within us by God. No matter where my life ultimately leads, increasing God's love and uplifting the "positive" in those I come in contact with will become my passion, my personal mission and vocation. Over the last six months, all of you, in large and small ways, have greatly supported me. I will never forget all your expressions of kindness and love! (I have worked really hard not to forget anybody.)
And to Joe Longo my Good Samaritan - Simply put, thank you for saving my life! Without you, I would still be stuck between that tractor and the articulator. I fully attribute the fact I had no permanent or more serious injuries to your quick thinking and your speed in getting to me. Was it your shirt or towel on my head as I bled? Was it you who spoke words of reassurance as I lay half crumpled up underneath the mower? Was it you who initially coordinated my "rescue"? I am indebted to you beyond words!!! In my reference earlier to "faithful imagining," I meant, specifically, the imaginative dimension in all of us which not only commits to love at certain times or special occasions, but is a vital element in every act we perform. During this holiday season, may your personal preparations, parish & family gatherings, and gift giving be filled with the kind of imagination that says, "I cherish you and love you today and everyday because of who you are." - Jerry
Dear Joe & Corinne,
You have been in Jack's and my thoughts each and every day since we heard the very sad news of Joe's illness and prognosis. You two have been such an important part of the Russell family for so many years (30+) and it breaks our hearts to know the pain you must be going through.
Please know that we are thinking of you all and that our thoughts and prayers are with you and in the days ahead.
Suzanne & Jack
I think about you both often. My prayers are with you.
And how goes it these days? The weather is tooooo oppressive. I keep taking showers. Bob and I have been talking about you lately and thinking of all the trips we did together, especially the one to Venice when you stopped us one day and said, that's it, I am not going to tour anymore churches. Or, the time we went on the Eastport trip and one morning you said, okay we are leaving this place. I must admit, Eastport was pretty desolate. That was a good trip through. Especially Deer Island and Stonington. Did you ever go back there and see if your friend ever finished rehabbing that house he had purchased? He sure had a beautiful site on that harbor.
We certainly enjoyed all the trips to Maine to visit with you and Corinne. The girls still talk about their first trip there staying with all of you at the Hume's cottage. Sleeping all over the place.
Everyone is good in our family. Barb's boys are over all the time. Last week Jake asked me to take him to get his hair cut that was a momentous occasion especially since he had not cut his hair in three years. He looks terrific now. We are thinking of you.
Dear Joe and Corrine,
This wiry couple reminded me of you – together whatever the weather! I've been in touch with Jim and I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers each and every day.
As your man Phil Rizzuto would say "Holy Cow"! I've neglected to thank you for the countless chores, etc. that you have done for me since we became neighbors back in 1978.
Lawnmower and blade, screen, storm doors, plumbing, electrical, TV, Record Player including John putting in my air conditioner.
How would I have made it without you? I am not going to say without your "help" because you always did what had to be done, I was the one who tried to help.
One of the first I remember was way back when there were trees between the properties and son Bob newly acquainted with a chainsaw was working on a pretty big tree near or on the property line, things got a bit dicey, it was either headed toward your house or mine, anyway either Jim or John came to our aid, that was the beginning of many episodes of "The Russell's Need Help"!
We have had such a wonderful relationship over these many years, good neighbors and best of friends in spite of our baseball team differences. Other than your Yankees and my anybody but, I think we have seen eye to eye on all other things.
I just want you to know how much I have enjoyed our friendship. Betty and I could not wait for mid-April to arrive and know that you and Corinne would soon be here. It was always a great feeling to know you were next door, seeing the light on, knocking on the take-out window (and also to know that Mr. Fix-it had returned), gabbing on the porch.
By the same token, we were always blue when Halloween rolled around, our best buddies were gone, winter was coming, ugh, the TV light was out.
I am rooting like hell for another April to come, so you'll be in your chair, the TV will be on, and even if the Yankees win, I'll still be smiling.
I Love You Joe, Peace,
Fond Memories of Joe
I met Joe at Honeywell and he took me under his wing when I was a rookie in the computer business. He shared with me his business knowledge and experience, as well as making me feel part of his family. I always felt welcome in the Longo home.
Below are some of the fond memories I have with the Longo family. Some may mean more to me than others, but they are a small window into the great relationship I have with Joe.
One afternoon at General Time, Joe called home and in a stern voice said "Hi, I will be home about 5:30. I want the dog fed, the children quiet, my drink ready for me on my side table, and dinner ready for 6:30. You got that?!...Now…let me speak to your Mother." Joe looks at me, smiles, and starts laughing like crazy.
I was invited to dinner one night but Joe had to umpire a baseball game first. There is a close play at home plate with both the runner and the ball arriving at the same time. Joe is staring down at the sliding runner and the catcher with the ball. He does not make a call either way, just keeps staring down at the play. Both benches start yelling for a call. Joe just keeps staring down at the play. Finally, Joe calls the runner out. The coach goes ballistic. Joe calmly talks to him and then the game continued. As we left the game I asked Joe why did it take so long to make the call? He said that the runner had slid just short of the plate and the catcher had the ball in his hand but tagged the runner with his empty glove! It took a while for the catcher to realize this and finally tagged the runner with the ball. Joe was laughing the whole time and said what was I suppose to do? I could not make the call. More laughter.
After a very violent thunder storm, a neighbor got an incredible electric bill and had a long, drawn out fight with the electric company over the bill. Only when the neighbor threatened to smash the meter did the electric company adjust his bill. A couple of days later Joe got a similar large bill and also argued with the electric company. Finally he says to them, look I am going up on a ladder to do some roof repair RIGHT OVER YOUR METER and I have this BIG hammer that I have trouble holding on to…. The electric company replaced his meter as well.
Joe drove a few of us up to a Honeywell meeting in Massachusetts. After the meeting we had lunch and started back to Connecticut. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm winter afternoon and everyone was quiet and enjoying the drive. Suddenly Joe started yawning, stretching and shaking and says "That was a great nap and I feel so much better!" A lady sitting beside me in the back seat almost fainted because she believed him. We all could not stop laughing.
John and Jini H