I write of "Victor" - the late Victor Ciancetta, an exceptional man whose unselfish services, remarkable accomplishments and invaluable contributions to better our community, uplift its residents and inspire others to greater accomplishment will continue to be felt ad infinitum, so constructive, noteworthy and monumental were they.
Our community was blessed, graced and enhanced by Victor's presence. This was a man of friendship, peace and spirituality, a man of character, good will and unimpeachability. Victor Ciancetta was completely devoid of envy, malice and self-aggrandizement. Rather, he was a man who quietly performed private acts of charity, quiet deeds of beneficence that touched the lives of many who were not aware of their benefactor, so humble and self effacing was he.
I urge those who read this column, but may not have read Victor's obituary in the Feb. 12 edition, to do so. You will learn that this most remarkable man in our midst maintained active memberships in 24 community organizations, was constructively active in 27 community service activities and was bestowed 21 public awards, honors and recognitions over the years for his vast and untiring effort to assist others in their time of need.
I was deeply saddened by the loss of this towering figure, yet kind and gentle man, this extraordinary and iconic leader who gave from the heart with no ulterior motive or concealed agenda. I - along with countless others, I am sure - was privileged and honored to come to know Victor and fortunate and distinguished to have him as one of my dearest friends.
Victor was a highly successful and widely respected businessman because he was possessed of integrity, probity and incorruptibility. He was also gifted with erudition, urbanity and civility, well educated, courteously refined and unfailingly respectful.
Victor not only had a degree in architectural design, he had expertise, savoir faire and finesse in the cultural arts. He also was genetically endowed with an effervescent sense of humor, an exuberant wit and a playful prankishness, which I would like to share with the readership, for "that's how" Victor Ciancetta chose to introduce himself to Dominic Potts: with puckish, but delightful, mischievousness.
One morning - perhaps 30 years or so ago - when I arrived at my law office early one morning I was startled to see a large message on canvas covering the entire glass of the entrance door and astonished to read the message. This was a work of art, very colorfully done by a highly skilled hand that created artful coruscating flair and fanciful flowing writing. The message was complimentary but mysterious. It commented on a speech I had given on the classical art of rhetoric, dialectics and forensics by such luminary orator/rhetoricians as Cicero, Quintilian and Seneca back during the Roman Empire and Early Republic, more than 2,000 years ago. And the art piece was signed, "Guess Who?"
I was transfixed by the artistry exhibited in the message, stupefied by the artist who had composed it and mesmerized by the manner in which it was delivered. I couldn't begin to imagine who I knew that was "gifted" with such artistic talent, much less possessed of unique bent for tantalizing teasing. My wife Mena and I launched a crusade to identify this "mysterious artist" without success. And even as we did so there would appear, at totally unpredictable times, more mysterious, artfully designed messages. Whoever this guy (or gal) was he (or she) had triggered a minor cataclysmic detonation in our theretofore rather pastoral life.
Eventually I received a phone call one day. Of course, as one might now guess, it was from the puckish and lovable Victor Ciancetta, who called to make a full confession to me.
Over the years thereafter, I came to know, admire, respect, love and work with Victor, one of a handful of outstanding men I had been privileged to come to know in my life.
With Victor Ciancetta's death another luminary, local legend has passed, an epoch ended, an era ceased to be. Victor was one of the rarified iconic members of our community of whom we can be unabashedly proud and for whom we can be ineffably grateful.
There will never be another Victor Ciancetta, or another Emilio Bernabei, my deceased father-in-law, or another Rev. Edmundo Stabene, Rev. Alfred D'Aliberti or another cultural and business leader as Guirino Lancia or another industrialist and benefactor as Louis Berkman.
The die that cast them was lost, their mold broken, their kind are forever gone, and their legacy can never be replaced. We were blessed by their bountiful contributions during their long and constructive lives, so we shall remain thankful and grateful to them and their kind.
(Potts is a local attorney.)