Monday, August 18, 2008

I'll Know What To Say

My son, Dino passed away this evening a little after 8PM. My heart hurts to say it and I know yours hurts to hear it. But this was Dino's Journey. Over the months, on those nights when I thought about losing him, I stayed away from it by insisting on focusing on the present. For most of my life, I've been something of a rehearsed man, often planning things months in advance. No more. I told myself that I will know what to say if this day ever comes, and now this day is here.

My son was a beautiful man who belonged to all who knew him. No loner was he, but rather a blend of everyone he met and loved, interwoven with his buddies and their children and their parents and his workmates. Though he didn't raise a family of his own, he belonged to many families, and over the past weeks and months, we've had the privilege to meet them, all wonderful people.

When I finished a novel some years ago, he read it, and re-read it, and re-read it again, each time adding a missing comma or suggesting another way to punch up a phrase. And each time I trusted him. He and I spoke the same language.

When it came time for him to move on tonight, his mother, Mary was rubbing his hair, and around his bed, everyone touched him gently; my wife, MiMi; my son, Nick with his fiance, Amber; Dean's stepbrother, Chris and his girl Virginia; and his good friend, Andrew McGraw. Moments after he passed, Carlos arrived, as well as Dino's special friend, Andi who had flown from Seattle.

Over the months, as we saw all the responses to his blogs, it became apparent that there were many people we had never met. Can I ask a favor of all of you? We really need to touch you, whether truly hand in hand or by e-mail. Here's my e-mail address: dsco7545@comcast.net. If you knew my son or read his blog, would you e-mail me and tell me your thoughts? This journey of the last three months wasn't done alone, it was done with all of you.

I will let you know of the funeral arrangements as soon as I know. For sure, the gathering will be in Santa Cruz. Hold us in your hearts. We love you all. And my boy continues on the grandest journey of them all.

47 comments:

VocalNurse said...

I was with Dino 12 days ago.
I am so grateful for those 10 minutes.

So much love.
Diva

mbendettea said...

Dino, take care on your new journey man. You are an inspiration to us all.

metropolispt31 said...

I'm numb right now and shaking a bit. I don't know what to say but I'll have more words when my head clears up a bit. In the meantime, I did manage to put some thoughts together a few days ago here:

http://www.pearldrummersforum.com/showthread.php?t=212402

and also here:

http://www.billyramirez.com/index.php?p=96

BR

Paul said...

Dino has left us far, far too soon.
I will remember Dino's visits to our home in Lake Tahoe, often around the holidays, surrounded by his entourage usually consisting of Andrew, Bernard, Matt, our daughter Kim and other good friends.

Dino always was a great wit. I enjoyed his company, and looked forward to his visits.

I will miss him enormously, as will all who knew him.

Eternal peace, Dino.

Paul Shirley

Looney said...

Dino,

We love you and always will...

elizabeth said...

We've all lost a wonderful friend. I wish we'd had more time with him. I wish comfort and love to all of his family and friends.

Elizabeth NoreƱa

VocalNurse said...

A post I've written...
http://vocalnurse.blogspot.com/2008/08/dino.html

So sad.

Marcia said...

I sit here staring at my computer, not knowing what to write. I'm full of sadness, for we have all lost such a wonderful person. I feel so fortunate that I was able to spend this weekend with the family and to sit by Dino's side. Seeing all of his friends come and go and to hear the stories about him from both friends and family truly has had an impact on me. My cousin Dino touched so many people's lives- and I know that I saw and met just a tiny fraction of the network of people that loved him. He had an infectious sense of humor and brought up everyone's spirits around him. I give thanks to my Uncle Dick, Aunts Mary and Mimi and Nick and Chris for allowing me to share this experience with them. I, unortunatley, had to fly home to Chicago- back to my two little ones today. I arrived home at almost 10pm tonight, and was lucky enough that my 4 year old daughter was still awake in bed. I walked straight up to her room, went in gave her a huge hug and told her that I loved her. Dino has given me the gift of reminding me that family and friends are all that matter at the end of the day- everything else is just not that important.

Tucker said...

Dino, Thank you for being such a wonderful part of my wifes life, and mine for the last 7 years. You have always made me feel welcome in your circle of friends and it was always a joy talking with you. It is wonderful to see the impact you had on so many peoples lives. I can honestly say I have never cried so hard to hear news of your journey. I sob while writting this only because of the amazing person you are, and the amazing people you knew. I am happy to know you were with family and friends when you passed. Andi has always talked of you with highest regard. As you meet others in your next journey hopefully they remind you a lot of us. You will be missed, but always remembered in our lives. Thank you for being in mine. Tucker

Bradley said...

Dino - I'm forever grateful to have known such a great man, forever grateful for the time we shared together.

With love from me to you,
-Brad

Barry said...

I am so sad right now. My prayers thoughts and hopes are for you Dick and Mary and your whole family. We lost a friend, a confident, and someone that always made us laugh. Your family lost a son, brother, cousin, and I now turn any strength I have left to you all.

Francesca Giessmann said...

I am so sad.. and feeling weird because I did not know (personally) Dino.. but our short but heartfelt emails interactions were filled with love and joy.
Dick & Family: May you find the courage to face the days ahead and I know that Dino's memories will cradle you through this most difficult of time.
with all my love
May Dino rest in peace
blessings
Francesca in Zurich , Switzerland

ginabean01 said...

I love you Dino. You filled my life with joy and laughter whenever we were together. I have been so blessed to have you as one of my cousins and I miss you so so much. My tears seem to be endless tonight. Thank you for your friendship in this lifetime. I am forever grateful for you.

Tiffany said...

I am a much better person for having known you Dino. I will miss your light and laugh. We had SO much fun together and in this time of sadness, thinking about those special times can still make me smile.

All my love and prayers of strength to your family. You will be missed.

May you rest in peace,
Tiffany Spencer

Monica said...

Dino, my dearest Dino...Your smile and laugh are so vivid in my mind right now, as are those beautiful blue eyes. I love you with all my soul, sweets. Since I met you, you've been such a star in my life and you will continue to be. I will miss your voice, but I know we will continue to have countless conversations. Thank you for the impact you had on so many lives. Blowing kisses to you, my dear friend.

Linda said...

Tonight the world lost a great human being, someone who endured and suffered what one should never have to go through. I have known Dino since our son Michael and he were in elementary school together at Westlake, Mission Hill and Santa Cruz High. Dino was in our sons wedding and although none of us had seen him for quite sometime, we would occasionally inquire as to whether Mike had been in touch. Our youngest son Jason used to see Dino in Santa Cruz about once or twice a year when he was visiting the family. He always called Jason, Little Nev. and never failed to inquire about all of us.

My heart aches for all of you and for the terrible loss that you have endured tonight. His journey is now over here on earth, but will continue to bring many happy memories and words of wisdom to live by. Such a profound young person he was and wise beyond his years. What a sense of humor and one that he shared with us many times in the past. I will share more stories and recollections of your wonderful son at a later date.

May God Bless all of you and bring you comfort and peace at this sorrowful time. My deepest sympathy.

Love,
Mrs. Nev (Linda Nevin)

denise said...

The world has lost an amazing and incredible guy. Dino, words can't express how much you will be missed and the impact you have had on all of our lives. As Lincoln said 'And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years'. You, and the way in which you lived your life are the perfect epitome of this quote. My friend, your journey on this earth was short yet the people you touched and impact you had during that short journey extends beyond what most people accomplish in 70 or 80 years. Thank you.. thank you for the laughter the friendship and the goodness you brought to all those around you.

As you begin your next journey may you rest in peace, connect with loved ones who have passed before you and may you have an unlimited supply of Italian Gelato:):) Just know that as you are embarking on your next journey we will all be here supporting and helping your family in any way we can.

Buona note amico mio, buona note.....

sharilyn psychonurse said...

O.k. Dino, Now after sitting on my bed never having to blog before, I of course lost it. (my comments, not my mind, I lost that a few days ago) So here I go again. I was so excited to come out and see you in 2 weeks to give you a hard time for all of the wise ass stunts you pulled on me when we were younger. And reminding you that you are suppose to visit us in Maui (so you said.) Well now I guess you are in paradise. And I bet Grandma Dina is squizzing the beep out of you. It's good that you are there to make her laugh. To tell you the truth Grandpa Jim is kind of serious as I can remember (I guess the judge in him) and it will be good to give him a good laugh too. Oh and be carefull of Nana and Nano as they love to pinch your cheeks!(They both have mustaches so if you can't tell who is who Nana is the one with big boobs and you will know when she gives you a good Italian hug. They will all be so proud of you Dino. With your quick wit, thoughtfulness and of course Grandpa Jim will be overjoyed that you love football. Maybe you guys can start a league.
Thank you Dino for letting me share your journey. I have been using you as an example of someone who wants to live, that there is a purpuse for all of us. It has helped quite a few of my clients reconsider there desire to not go on living any more. They hear your journey and it instantly moves them and gives them pause to really think. Your journey for me will help me to help others. You are helping me save lives.

YOU ARE MY HERO!

There are not enough words to begin to tell Uncle Dick, Aunty Mary, Mimi, Nick, Chris and the gang how much I admire and Love you.

Love you little cuz,

Aloha,
Sharilyn

Mary said...

The world is a less funny place today. Our thoughts are with everyone who knew and loved Dino.

Jodi said...

Dino,
You are a great friend, and I will miss you terribly. You're now at peace.

I love you Dino!

Jodi (Thuringer)

Annie said...

You will be greatly missed Dino. I always felt comfortable and happy whenever you were around. My heart goes out to you, your family and the many friends who you made feel special just by being you.
-Annie Manako (O'Leary)

Ross said...

Dino -

The cruelest thing in the last few hours was having the facebook page pop up and ask me if I would like to add you as a friend. I am proud to say that you are my friend. Thanks for everything.

I take some small comfort knowing you are at peace, but it still doesn't stop the hurt.

To his family and friends on this board: Though most of us have not met in person, I know that I have a group of new friends today. And I have Dino to thank for bringing us together. Take care and be strong.

Ruby said...

Dino - wherever you are, may you keep those other spirits around you laughing - just like you did here on earth. I think I've only seen you once in the last 10 years or so, but it was a memorable night here in Santa Cruz - you kept us laughing the whole time. I'm so glad we ran into you strolling down Pacific Ave that night.
My thoughts are with you and your family and friends.
Ruby

Dan said...

I've only ever met Dino through a friend in his band Mirror Image, but I've followed this blog from the very beginning. I've kept him and you all in my thoughts throughout his treatment and have always sent positive thoughts with each courageous, intelligent, and determined blog post. My deepest condolences to Dino's family. Dino, you will not be forgotten.

Brad said...

Shock and disbelief...I don't know what else to say. Dick, I can't imagine the strength it must have taken to take up the keyboard so short after Dino's passing...thank you thank you thank you. I have been religiously following the blog many times daily, but just now saw this final post. My heart goes out to you and the family.

Dino is (was? how can that possibly be past tense?) my oldest friend. From 3rd grade through 6th, we were inseparable. 9 months older and a head taller, he stuffed my shots in basketball like Kareem, but I redeemed myself in spelling bees. Our 2-on-2 baseball games (how did that work?) are the stuff of legend...the Oly Pirates we were, after the Olympia Beer jerseys we wore and the World Series champs of the day. His moving back to Santa Cruz was the first big shock of my short life.

We grew apart, then grew back together. I would see him once every year or so, on business trips to the Bay Area. We could talk for hours over microbrews, whining about the sorry state of the 'Hawks or praising the latest Bruce Hornsby. He was a truly constant friend, a part of me.

A few months ago I was pinged by Dino on Yahoo chat: "I have some bad news." I was shocked then, but that was nothing compared to what I feel now. I never even considered the possibility this would happen, not to Dino. I can only imagine how much he fought until the end...way to go, man. You had the big C on the ropes and were in control...but then came the left hook. Dammit.

You inspired me, Dino. All the way from that day we met at the bus stop in 3rd grade...

Love,
Brad "Space" (God, I hated it when you called me that) Kadet

AGNeal said...

As I sit here at work with a lump in my throat my mind is back at UCSB for the two years I lived with Dino. Even though we parted ways many years ago in our early twenties, I feel like I lost a good friend last night. I do know that the world is forever scarred by his passing.

Too much going through my head right now.

Andy Neal

Sara said...

Over the last several days I’ve been trying to recall my earliest memory of Dino. The best I could come up with was the Santa Cruz High School quad, Dino strolling through at brunch or lunch in his red cardinal football jersey, looking over at me, and yelling “Dalbey!!!” at the top of his lungs. I don’t know if it happened like that or not, but throughout our long friendship, his terms of endearment for me have brightened my mood each and every time I saw him. Dino showed me the ropes. Through high school, at UCSB, and beyond, he was the big brother figure who took time to introduce me to new places and new friends. He moved me into my freshman dorm room and promptly embarrassed me by announcing the name of my roommate at the top of his lungs before I had a chance to meet her. He introduced me to the best eateries in Isla Vista and took me into his fold of college friends who became, thanks to him, my lifelong friends. When I got my first ever “D” grade on a paper in college, I went to his apartment and he sat down with me and patiently explained to me that college was slightly more challenging that high school and that I would have to buckle down if I wanted to get the kinds of grades I was used to. He then patiently reviewed my paper with me, line by line explaining how I could make it stronger. He answered my phone calls when I was distraught. He made his thoughts clear about what he thought of the male company I kept and whether they were worthy of my time. He teased me relentlessly, sometimes bringing me to tears, just as a big brother should. Years passed, we lived in different parts of the world and didn’t see one another as often, but every time we got together we picked up where we left off, always with a big warm hug, a smile, and a boisterous greeting of Dalbey, Malbus, or some wacky version of my last name. Over the last months before Dino was diagnosed, we started a tradition of a big pasta dinner at our house, followed by viewing of Lost. I can still see him sitting at my kitchen table enjoying the my Bolognese sauce. That is how I’ll remember him. Red wine in hand enjoying a good meal. I, like most of us I suppose, am uncertain about what lies ahead for us on the other side. I feel a lot more comfortable with the idea now knowing that my big brother Dino will be there waiting to show me the ropes. Thank you Dino. I love and miss you!

Kim said...

Dino, this world was a better place with you in it (not to mention, substantially funnier). I have and always will cherish the laughs we shared.

Dick, Mary and Co., I wish for you simple pleasures, small victories, and happy memories of Dino to help you through the difficult days ahead.

Also, remember that "be strong" has many meanings and varies from day to day. It means having the courage to feel and express your emotions, the wisdom to know that sometimes falling apart takes more guts than holding it together, and that sometimes bravery means giving yourself permission to be happy.

kps said...

Dino,

Thank you for totally rockin' the house on my 40th birthday, your great hallowe'en costumes and pitch perfect dr. evil, great parties with at your place with Lizzie and Scout in our 'hood, teaching me Lil' Wing on the guitar, schooling me on the football field, and sharing a love of both DMB and Rush... You will be greatly missed...

Peace...

Kamal

Bill said...

Fragile, fragile, fragile, fragile, fragile. Four months ago over lunch, I tried to recruit Dino to work for me again. And the reality is, more than anything else, I wanted to bring his unique personality to the team.

Dino was a special talent with so much more to give.

My condolences to all.

~ Bill

JNev said...

The last time I saw Dino in Santa Cruz he was going over to his mom's but he had to stop off at 7-11 first. My 10 year old daughter and I had already walked across the street headed back to my house when I noticed Dino pulling into the parking lot. As you all know, Dino had an infectious personality and could bring a smile to anyone's face so I made a point of heading back into 7-11 just so I could say hi, introduce my daughter to him and get a dose of Dino. After our brief visit and him asking about my parents and my brother (Preppy Jock Babe) as Dino used to refer to him as, my daughter and I retreated back home. Of course, I had to explain to my daughter who Dino was and that he was once a famous baseball announcer. Well, at least in my eyes he was a famous baseball announcer. He used to announce my little league games back in the day and he was the BEST! The problem was that while we were all trying to be serious during the game Dino would come over the PA system and make everyone laugh while we were either at the plate, in the field or just sitting in the stands. Even during his teen years Dino was there to remind us that you should take things lightly, especially little league baseball. I'll have to watch my brothers wedding video again as well so I can see his impersonation of an Irishman....Man, he could impersonate anyone! Dino you will be truly missed.

Little Nev

gloria said...

I will truly miss you, Dingy! I've known Dino since my brother Matt and he were in elementary school together. Dino was like a little brother to me, always full of jokes, sarcasm and the irritating (yet endearing) "thorp" he would inflict upon my forearm with his two or three fingers. I could never quite replicate or reciprocate the thorp; boy would I love to get one of those thorps from Dino right now!

I have many memories of Dino, both early and recent ones. I remember how Dino would call my brother early every Saturday and Sunday mornings during junior high and high school. Of course, Matt wouldn't answer the phone and I would reluctantly answer and then plead with Dino to not call so early. Of course, Dino would just tease me and continue to call at the same ungodly hour, every weekend. Dino was always part of our Zwerling-McGraw family. He would make a grand entrance every Thanksgiving and make sure he left enough room for a second feast after he left his own family's event. He would enter the door and we'd all great him with a resounding "Diiinnnooooo!"

My most recent memory of Dino was a night a few months ago when we met for a spontaneous dinner at 21st Amendment (in SF) followed by a viewing of the U2 3D movie with his Mirror Image friends. We had so much fun that night and Dino had me in stitches with his many silly comments. I remember watching him as he hummed and tapped his feet to one of his favorite bands, U2. He was completely "in the moment" and I will always hold on to that wonderful memory.

Dino always had a smile on his face and an articulate and/or witty comment to spice up any conversation. He was full of life and always followed his passions. I've always admired how Dino, as my brother has said, only did what he liked to do. What a simple yet rarely followed mantra. Be it sports commentating for UCSB, working at EA and Sega, both writing and, as we teased him, "playing video games all day," playing music in several bands, hanging out with numerous friends and family members, Dino always did what made him happy.

Dino, you will be sorely missed. You brought joy and laughter into all of our hearts. I'll miss you, little brother!

Love Always,

"Glar" aka Gloria Zwerling

Stephanie said...

Here's the image of Dino that will stay with me forever: after a horrific day and night of driving across 3 countries (with our one and a half year old screaming in the back seat, and poor Dino playing referee as Andrew and I argued with each other over whose idea it was to drive 14 hours with a toddler in tow), we finally went to our first restaurant in Italy. The sky was perfectly blue, the sun was shining, and we sat at an outside table near a fountain. Dino sat back in his chair with his beer, closed his eyes, smiled, and said that this moment was perfect happiness.

Words can't describe what Dino meant to us all. In our small family, Dino was a best friend, a "brother," and an "uncle." He was, to us, everything. The world has lost a little light with Dino leaving the stage.

Dick and Mary: thank you for sharing your Dino with us. We are so blessed to have had him in our lives. We can't imagine the pain you must be feeling; we are here for you in any way you need.

love,
Stephanie, Andrew, Zach and Ella

maisie said...

Dino,
You were (I can't quite believe I'm writing in the past tense) truly one of a kind - a unique sense of humor, intelligence and special view of the world. Your loss will be felt by many.

Team Dino said...

Dino-
Since I met you almost 20 years ago, you have been part of my soul. I'm wondering how to go on without you, but I know I will see you in every picture of Yosemite, I will feel your excitement during every Seahawks game, I will hear you in every Dave Matthews, REM, Coldplay, Police and Rush song, I will rekindle your spirit with every story I tell my kids about our adventures. You'll always be with all of us. I will miss you every day that I'm alive my friend. We have prayed for you for a long time - now it's your turn to give us the strength to go on without you.
If you visit me, can you tell me how Lost will end? Thanks
I love you!
Andi

Pat Bush said...

When I spoke with Dino yesterday afternoon, I posted a recent picture of Half Dome (http://www.flickr.com/photos/patrickbush/873391413/sizes/o/in/set-72157600956257226/) in the room for him to gaze upon.
I told him that he was responsible for introducing that big ass rock way back in the day and since, I have affectionately deemed the most beautiful place on earth. I also told him that every time since, when I enter the valley and fix my eyes on that rock, I think of him. Every time I introduced someone to Half Dome, I always talked at length about Dino and the times we have scaled that rock together (one time unplanned even). Yosemite and Dino are synonymous to me. There is not one, without the other.

I travel to Yosemite often, and I feel comfort in knowing Dino will always be there, waiting to share yet another adventure with me in the most beautiful place on earth.

Loretta said...

Thank you everyone for posting stories about Dino. It is so true that the world is so much emptier without Dino here with us. He had a way about him to make everyone feel special - it was like the instant you met him, you became friends forever because everyone always remembered how funny he was and how happy they made them.

I also had the "pleasure" of getting thorped/thwapped with his fingers. Damn, that hurt like a b****. And one time was never enough. He had to do it multiple times so it REALLY hurt like a b****. Lots of times, I just wanted to sock him back because I couldn't figure out how to thorp him so that it would hurt. I think I probably did whack him back, come to think of it...Throughout his entire journey though, I also would have given anything do get thorped again.

I think most of us know that he had an amazing ability to do imitations & impersonations. Austin Powers was a classic. Michael Jackson another. At our wedding in 1999, he cleared the dance floor as 200 guests looked on & cheered wildly as he moonwalked and Billie Jean'ed for everyone to see.

I will always remember you with great fondness, Dino. I can't even really believe you are gone. Although your time on Earth was cut short, you truly made the most of it and enriched the lives of countless people.

Much love always, Miss Loretta

Heather said...

What a comfort to read all the stories and memories. I can't really remember what my life was like before Dino became a part of it, and waking today to a face a world without him in it, was unbearable. The man of a thousand voices, he was always ready with the perfect turns of phrase, the obscure sports statistics/movie trivia, the steady bass lines, the nickname generator, the unparalleled wit, the warmest hugs.

Over the years it has been a privilege to watch how he took his boundless energy and wildly creative talents and channeled them into all the things he loved doing. In his music and his writings I can hear his voice again. He played far too short a set. I would give anything for an encore.

I love you Dino and I miss you. Thank you for everything.

Love,
Heather

Amy said...

Dino and I initially bonded over DMB. Raise your hand if this is surprising to anyone. We had worked together at EA for years and I knew him as something called "Chimp Numbers Monkey" where he'd write marketing website updates in the 3rd person of a monkey. I think. I remember always thinking, "who ghost writes as a 3rd person monkey?" Oh, that would be Dino.
When Dino was diagnosed I was honored that he reached out to me. Sharing my recent cancer experience with him helped me as much as I hope it helped him. We talked for hours the first time about all of it. He told me he would need to lean on me and he asked me if I minded. I said I would be a 24-7 lifeline whenever he needed it. He called me his cancer sensei.
One day, after his surgery he called me. We spent more time talking about how I was having a hard time with re-entry to post-cancer life. I felt terrible after hogging the time to talk about me. He was so amazing that particular day. I remember hanging up and thinking "wow, Dino is the real deal."
Cancer affects everyone in the community of the person that is the patient. Parents, siblings, friends, coworkers...everyone learns and grows as a result of something terrible. I'm saddened that the medicine for liposarcoma wasn't as strong as Dino. Dino's amazing resolve and attitude coupled with our support as his team (especially his parents and brother) should have been enough. Everyone thinks a positive attitude can cure anything. Sadly with Dino's story, we know that it makes a journey to be more bearable -- but it isn't a full proof way to rid cancer from our bodies.
Which is why we need to stay on the offense. Being on defense against cancer really blows. Fighting against it while we are healthy. Using Dino as our inspiration.
Dino, old friend, you spent years making me laugh, and today I wept for you. For all of us who will miss you so much. If I have to take a silver lining from this (which is what I always try and do in the darkest of days) it is that you helped me get to a place of peace and comfort with my own cancer. It made me understand a little more "why it was me" that got it rather than "why me?" So, that's really selfish, but this is a gift you gave me as you faced cancer and stared at it hard in the face.
Cancer really isn't for sissies. You showed everyone that.
Rest in peace ... amigo.
amy bartlett

Michael Nevin said...

I knew Dino through the school years and was privileged to have him as one of my groomsmen.

When Dino and I were reunited after his brief stint in Washington, he said to me, " Wait, weren't you the tweaky little kid with glasses." In so many ways that description has come to define me.

But Dino was a friend, who enjoyed many laughs at my expense, but he was a friend. I knew that his humor was all in good fun. We played too much flag football together, and eventually played high school ball. I do believe that Dino was the one who caught my best spiral ever when we competed against Cabrillo in 7 on . He would later catch the worst pass I ever threw for a hook and lateral that Jeff Neumann nearly punched in to the goal line with.

We hung out at lunch, and he never let me down the time he recorded me defining myself as a "preppy, jock, babe." I was always been set up for a good joke in those days. I remember hanging out at his house talking football, trying to avoid Nick, and listening to "Message in a Bottle".

He also hooked me up with Little League announcing at Harvey West Park. I enjoyed working with him that summer as he trained me on the ins and outs of announcing and of the various nicknames he had given the snackbar.

My parents enjoyed Dino's company, as did my brother, so much so I decided to include him as a groomsmen in my wedding. He looked dapper in a tux, and hammed it up with a British accent.

We lost contact after I moved to Sacramento, but I tracked him down via the web. We swapped a few emails.

After reading all that was written here, I realize just how much of his life I missed out on. It saddens me.

Smockster said...

I had the honor, the privilege - and the vast enjoyment - of being one of Dino's musical compadres.
I am speaking of the infamous Supergroup, Cold Turkey. :)~

Many people here have testified to Dino's magnanimous personality and wicked wit. I will add my voice to attest to it. He was one of the most positive, warm-hearted people I have ever known. In the five or six years we were hanging out and playing music, I don't think I ever heard him say a negative thing about another person. With the exception of his persistent desire to point out that I was the "old man" of the group. :)

The deft touch with which he wielded his humor always made sure that it was funny and never stung. As I remember it, his favorite refrain during rehearsals was, "Why you gotta be like that?" Said, of course, with a pitch-perfect accent. It sounds like everyone everywhere had this kind of experience with Dino.

I loved looking over at him as we were jamming away and in the middle of good groove. The joy that it gave him to be in that moment with guys that he liked playing with was infectious and just plain fun to be around. I'm sure that this is true with his other bandmates as well. I remember how he used to love turning his volume up to 11.

Like with his humor and his conversation, music to him was a way to connect to people. I remember the way he loved hanging out after a gig in order to have a beer (OK - another beer). We'd pack up and then sit at the bar to revel in our mutual fantasy of being high stakes rock-n-rollers. To him, the socializing after the gig was almost as much a part of the experience as playing the music. Almost.

The fact that I got to ride along with him during that particular slice of his life leaves me feeling enormously grateful, even as I feel so debilitated by the emptiness that accompanies his passing.

To be honest, I don't even have my head completely around this whole thing quite yet. I'm sure that all of you feel the same. I just feel like I keep getting punched in the stomach over and over. I feel like I didn't do enough to help him during this awful illness.

Dino was a man full of love and light and always happy and ready to share it with anyone at any time. He knew what it meant to live the Good life and he accomplished it in his too-few years.

My heart goes out to you, his family and close friends, who traveled this difficult journey with him. Blessings to you for your bravery and blessings to him for his. May we all find some comfort in our memories of the Greatness that is Dino Scoppotone.

Alexandra said...

Like everyone reeling from this shock, I have been so moved by the tremendous outpouring of emotion reflected in these notes from the many people Dino influenced (and harassed in jest) in his far too short life. The warmth of his “Ali, Baby” greeting with a big hug was unparalleled. He persisted (for 20 years now) in trying to convince my dad that he was indeed “secret agent man.” We cast eyes (and stealth fingers!) on Han Solo in carbon freezing at the George Lucas exhibit at the Marin County Fair. My personal favorite was his ET impersonation and he obliged and humored me by performing when we saw each other.

One of my fondest memories, both because it introduced me to backcountry hiking and because it is likely one of the most unprepared outdoor adventures undertaken by five individuals, is our trip to Yosemite over Labor Day weekend 18 years ago. Dino was convinced that I could not leave California for my freshman year of college without seeing Yosemite first. With Oingo Boingo and Bruce Hornsby tapes blasting along the way, we headed to Yosemite in search of a campsite. We ended up at Tioga pass because Yosemite was full and camped huddled in a tent trying to keep warm all night. The next morning, exhausted but armed with several “goober” sandwiches (we were too cheap to buy separate jars of peanut butter and jelly), two granola bars, and a few bottles of water, five of us headed up the backside of Half Dome. Dino was our fearless trailblazer and reminisced about the many trips he had made to Yosemite with his dad. Needless to say, it was breathtaking, and when we eventually returned to the valley floor, passing bears in the darkness on the way down, we lay down, kissed the earth in relief and promptly celebrated our physical feat with a hamburger dinner.

Dino’s warmth, intelligence and wit will be part of my life always. He has become a regular at our Canadian Thanksgiving party – typically humoring my husband, Neil, and winning a “loony” for his knowledge of Canada trivia. I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving in Santa Cruz without him and I am sorry we never did get together for the “can of spaghetti” dinner he promised at his place.

Much love to Dino’s family – you raised a sensational person who enriched our lives.

Ali Minnis

Alexandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carrie Kreppel said...

Dino,
I will miss you at George and Walt's this football season. I'm glad you are at peace.

Love,
Carrie

L. Christmas said...

I've only hung out with Dino a few times, but I've had the privilege sharing the following with him:
-Beers and lot's of Red Wine
-Seeing him and his band play at the Shattuck Down Low
-Jamming to Dave Matthews songs, him on his Warwick, me on his guitar at a Chistmas party - the house near Piedmont Ave. He told me I was good.
-Him making fun of Sean and I in our spandex before bike rides - he know just how to poke fun, and it never got old.
-And one constant each time I saw him .. him seriously making me laugh more than anyone I've ever known.

Dino, I'll never forget you brother.
Lloyd Ranola

Priscilla said...

Dino, thank you so much for your love and friendship. I always looked forward to sharing a meal together, enjoying a movie, hearing you play music, or embarking on a spontaneous adventure. You have been such a great friend and confidant, you’ve perked me up when I was feeling down, could ALWAYS make me laugh, and provoked thought when we (actually) had serious conversations. I’m so grateful that you shared your love of Yosemite with me. It is a spectacular place where I will always think of you, and am so thankful for our time there. I can only hope that I was a fraction of the friend you have been to me, Dino! I can just imagine you singing “So Lonely” and rocking the house right now. I love you Dino!

Mary and Dick, thank you so much for raising such a wonderful man. You’ve always been there for Dino, particularly during the last few extremely difficult months. Dino means so much to so many, and was a truly incredible human being. We are all so fortunate to have called him a friend. Words can’t express how much he was loved or how much he will be missed – our lives will never be the same. Our love and prayers are with you and your families.
Much Love,
Priscilla

Ron and Jean said...

Dear Mary Ellen, Dick and Family,
Our hearts ache in hearing about Dino. We all think of you often and hope to reconnect. We all have fond memories of Christmas gatherings and wonderful photos to share of past holidays. Please email us when you feel you can.
Are you still in Santa Cruz, Mary Ellen? We visit friends on Moore Street whenever we are in Santa Cruz.
Please accept our Heartfelt sympathy and do let us hear from you again.
Blessings,
Ron and Jean Gandolfi
paradisegrandma@aol.com