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Joseph Adam Sposato
March 9, 1929 ~ January 28, 2013 (age 83)
Joseph was born on March 9, 1929 and passed away on January 28, 2013. It was with the greatest love a daughter could have for her father, that I gave the eulogy at his Memorial Mass on Friday, Febuary 1st, 2013. I've posted it here: February 1, 2013 How does a eulogy suffice for someone as loved and cherished as my dad? He has been such an integral part of every step of my life and an enormous piece of who I am today. How do I summarize the value or merit of his life or measure in words the impact he made on those around him? There are so many stories I could tell, so many anecdotes and experiences. I really struggled with how to briefly capture all of this in a matter of words. I don't hink I can. There's something even better than words that does it perfectly.
There's my mom, there's me, there's my husband. There are my three children-his grandkids. There are my sisters-his step-daughters. There's the rest of our family. There are those he helped along the way as he was known for doing, there are others he shared conversations with through the years in the stores he owned and operated. We are all living examples of who my dad was.
I would often joke and tease him about the fact he was born in Italy and how he "just got off the boat". It's funny, yes...but it's true; that's how he arrived here. But what's more important is what he brought with him. He was "old school" as the term goes. Church, family, work. He was a hard-working laborer with the fortitude to get a job done no matter what it took or how long it took. There was no "quitting" or "giving up". If something needed to be done you just found a way and got it done. This held true for all situations in life; not just work.
For my dad, he had an order to his life. God, Faith and Prayer, Family and Love, Notre Dame Football and Food. Perhaps mixing in food a bit more often. He was truly devoted, in his heart and soul, to our God and Faith and the power of prayer. He believed it. He loved because of it. He was guided through life with it. One of my fondest memories when I was little, was each night at my bedtime, he would sit on a chair in my room as I was falling asleep and he would say his prayers out loud. There was no greater feeling of comfort, love and safety than to fall asleep to that- and the fact that "my dad" was there every night for me.
He loved a feast. St. Joseph's Day? We would set out a statue of St. Joseph, say prayers and he or my mom would cook a special meal in honor of that. We did that for many of the Saints days as I grew up. Feast of the Immaculate Conception...on the eve of this celebratory day, as the Italian tradition goes, we would make "respelle" ... an Italian donut. There would be prayer, honoring our Blessed Mother and of course, the food. While the Saint's Days or Holy Days did come first for celebrations, Notre Dame football held a pretty close second!
After "getting off the boat" his family settled in Gary, Indiana. Growing up during the Depression Era, he along with so many others, took to sports as their outlet. Notre Dame was not ony close by, but held such a prestige and gave you something to dream about, something to cherish. It was rich with traditions, held the same religious values being a Catholic University, and set the bar in those days for college football. While he never attended college there, he loved the university and college football program as though he had. And as many may already know and understand, if you are in any way a fanatic for Notre Dame football, by default, so are your children. I don't think the fight song was played at my baptism, but I do believe that is when I was introduced to Notre Dame! Every Saturday morning during the football season I would wake to the smell of "American Fries", as my dad called them (Potatoes cut in round coin shapes and fried), and italian sausage. The Notre Dame fight song would be playing. Our living room would be decorated with green streamers and various other memorabilia- the leprechaun or 4-leafed clovers. And just to re-iterate the fact he was a "do whatever it takes to get it done" person... there were a few years when I was little, about 5-8yrs old, when Notre Dame wasn't televised; you could only listen to them on radio. Well, what happens when your radio signal for that station is fuzzy or won't come in? Never fear! You put your daughter in the car with you, hand her the radio with the antennae extended and make her hold it out the window to get better reception as we drive along the coast! Another option, since we lived in San Clemente at that time, we would climb the hills and get to the highest point to get better reception. Of course, we would always bring a backpack of goodies to munch on.
My dad was a story-teller. Want to see him truly radiate happiness from within; put him amongst any of the family and let him tell a story. I have many stories of things he did for my sisters, places he took them. I have memories of driving in the car to get supplies for stores he owned and he would tell me about places he worked growing up, his family, things that happened, things he did. Something we saw along the way, or a radio program might spark a story. All of his stories, and those that others share about him, regardless of subject matter, reflect a man who was deeply spiritual and allowed God and Prayer to guide him, aman who loved life, learned through his experiences and taught valuable lessons through re-telling them.
What a great husband. My mom and dad didn't always need "words" or "conversation". They simply enjoyed each other's company. Where you found one you found the other. Their life as partners, their love, their comraderie and their togetherness in all things has lent itself to the inner strength and confidence I have now. I asked my mom, what in particular would you say about dad? Through tears she said: he was a great partner. An honest man through and through. An approachable man. Loving and compassionate. A giving man. He would give to anyone in need. He once had a husband and pregnant wife come upon him at a 7-Eleven store he owned in Costa Mesa. The man had no home, no job, no money. He asked if there was anything he could do around the store to earn himself some bread and milk for his pregnant wife and himself. My dad proceeded to fill up a grocery bag of items and took it to their car. He arranged for them to stay in their car near the store, and he fed them for nearly a week until the husband finally landed a job nearby. Not too long after getting the job, the family was able to afford a small apartment and the wife had their baby. The couple asked my dad to be the Godfather and they named their son Leonard Joseph. That's my dad.
Because of the closeness that has remained between my mom, my dad and myself through my entire life, day to day, I could write a book on the daily ocurrences that exemplify the spirituality, love and devotion to God and Family, his ability to teach by example.
From the many grottos to our Blessed Lady that he built, to the elaborate hand-made nativity scenes telling the story of Jesus' life, from the rosaries he made for missions around the world to the family feast traditions and celebrations, to the work ethics I learned by working in his stores, to his humor, to his smile when he saw me or my mom or his grandkids, the endless advice he gave on life and its various daily hurdles, to how he taught us to separate ourselves from the secular world while still living in it, to the words and reflections shared by those who know him..My dad's life and how he lived it was a testimony to the fact that a life can be lived according to God's Word and be rich without money while doing so.
He had a long life. Eighty-three years. He had many struggles through life as we all do. It's how he handled them and resolved them that made the difference and taught us all. He led a healthy life. It was only recently that he experienced a decline in his health. Last year in September he experienced his first heart attack. I was told explicitly that night, by multiple doctors and nurses in the E.R. and ICU that he would not make it through the night. I was told this later during another hospitlization due to a subsequent heart attack.
Well, through prayer and love and his never-ending fortitude of being a fighter in all scenarios, he made it. At that time, Sept-October 2012, my husband and I moved both him and my mom into our home. I believe my dad was given one of the biggest gifts a human could ever be given: more time. We never have enough time, right? How many times do we experience or say..."If I only had a few more minutes...or if I only had more time I would have done, or I would have said..."
My dad was given the gift of 4 more months of life. They were not easy by health standards. But, he was where he wanted to be and was happiest. He had life all around him. His grandkids, his wife, my husband and myself. He had a peaceful setting in our backyard with the pnd and running water where he sat and made his rosaries and said his daily prayers. He woke up Christmas morning to the sound of his grandkids' laughter and smiling faces; a memory he told me many times he would always cherish.
The last couple weeks of his life encompassed a large amount of physical suffering for him. But, we were all blessed to still have many moments where he was able to share his love and appreciation for all of us and we did the same for him. No regrets. Nothing left unsaid. His last day here with us, he was able to enjoy the angelic sound of the Ave Maria sung by Fr. Dickens. He could not speak at that time, but his eyes opened and he saw Fr. Dickens while holding our hands. He was at peace. It wasn't too long after that he fell asleep and passed. There is great joy in our hearts as we know and believe he is healed and happy and glowing in heaven. There is a great hole in our hearts just the same as we will miss that laugh, that story, the hand there to comfort and guide us that we so easily could go to.
But, the greatest gift and possibly miracle of his life, is that his spirit, all of who he was in life, radiates through all of us and lives on. The love we feel for him can't be measured. May God Bless his soul.
With love, your daughter, Anna Marie Head
February 01, 2013 2:00 PM
St. Mark's Catholic Church
1147 Discovery Street San Marcos, CA
February 06, 2013 2:00 PM
San Marcos Cemetery
Mulberry San Marcos, CA
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