“There is no such thing as technique, there is only sincerity.” Gerald Frank Tucci
My father never once gave a speech he had written down on paper. He would never waste his time crafting a toast or whatnot because he truly believed that speaking from your heart was the only way to speak at all. I love this quote of his. And Daddy, this one is just so hard that I had to write it down. I’m sorry. But I want to do this for you and I need to get it right so forgive me for glancing at my notes.
For those of you who don’t know me I am Amy, Gerry’s only daughter and youngest child. Thank you all for being here in remembrance of him.
Those of you who do know me you know that I love to write.
This task, though, writing a farewell to the sun in my sky, felt impossible. If my father taught me anything, (and he taught me everything) it was to bravely face my fears. He instilled in me the steadfast belief that I was at least as tough as anyone in the room, or any situation, or any opponent. So here goes.
A lot of you know my father well, and some of you even longer than I have. You may know him as a businessman, a friend, a golf buddy, a classmate, an uncle, a grandfather, the list goes on and on.
I, however, am the only one who can tell you what it is like to be his daughter.
It is extraordinary.
He raised me to feel safe.
I have always, always, felt safe. Is there any more important job for a father?
I had a father who insulated me from any hint of fear. I never needed to worry about anything with him in my corner, always protecting me, always teaching me, always pushing me to be a better version of myself.
He raised me to be humble:
I am sure we can all agree that despite all of my father’s innumerable accomplishments, his confirmed excellence across nearly all categories, he was always incredibly humble. My father never acted as if he was better than anyone. And it had absolutely no bearing on who that someone was. He was always curious, engaged, thoughtful, and perceptive.
He used to tell us that he woke up in the morning asking ‘what can I learn today?’ and went to sleep in the evening asking ‘what DID I learn today.” That was the man who raised me.
He also raised me to be unapologetically myself.
There was no premium put on ‘fitting in’ in my family. Both Eva and Gerry were mavericks in their own rights. They raised us to be islands, unique, different, and always fiercely individual. He seemed to always know that I would walk to the beat of my own drum no matter what, and he celebrated that quality in me. Always.
He raised me to be tough.
My dad also never walked into a room like anyone in there was better than him. He was never apologetic about his choices, whatever they might be. He was all in. And he taught me that as well.
As a rule, he approached all situations curious but confident. A student, but keenly aware of his abilities and firmly convicted in his knowledge of a particular subject. This quality of his was one I drank in as a little girl. When you add to that the respect with which I was always treated during my childhood, I soon learned to emulate him.
When I think back on my formative years, I think about how incredibly unique my upbringing was. Yes I was the baby and the only girl but I think that only made his lessons even more potent to me.
- In my family, I was always asked for my opinion.
- In my family, I had a voice, no matter how small I was.
- In my family, no one went easy on me on the tennis court, and I never had to fight to be heard in family meetings because I had equal time to speak my mind.
He raised me to do the work.
My father is a man of the highest caliber. He is precise and nearly always excellent. The thing about having your father be a micro engineering genius is that you better have done your research. One of his favorite things to say is “are you sure?” And there is nothing like a genius asking you if you are sure in your suppositions to make you check your work. Nothing less than excellence would suffice, which I realize might sound terrible to you. But when your father is Gerry Tucci, you are inspired to do your best at all times. What could I possibly complain about to him? Never once did he say “I’m too tired” or “I’m too old.” That wasn’t a thing.
He would often say, “my father was 10 times the man I could ever be.” And each time I would think to myself how sorry I was to not have met my grandfather.
I find myself often saying that I am just the faintest whisper of my exceptional parents. I had a mother with more grace and presence than the world will ever see again, and my father, well. You know. They were both one in a million.
On one of the recent dark nights, I found myself curled up next to him holding his hand. I did that a lot, as did my brothers. I lay so close to him and whispered in his ear how much I loved him and that it would be ok, that I was going to be ok. I would stay until he fell asleep, and Madsen, wonderful Madsen sat nearby. Not too close but never far. I told Madsen to go get some rest. He had been putting in 16 hour days tirelessly tending to my father’s every need. He said “No Miss Amy. I will stay. We have a Giant here. You don’t leave a Giant.”
As I said, my father removed any trace of fear from my life. What kind of adversary is fear for the likes of a giant? But now…
I am afraid Daddy. I don’t understand a universe without you in it. I don’t know what it is to not have your counsel, your deep, calm and all knowing voice. I don’t know a world where I can’t hold your hand and tell you I love you every day. But this time I know that you taught me well. With mom it was a robbery, a thing so wrong that there would be no making it right. She taught me everything I needed but left too soon to get to the finesse shots.
You, Daddy. You taught me all of it. Now it’s my time to live in your image, the strong, confident, humble, kind, generous image you raised me with.
On his 85th birthday he wrote ““My biggest concern is that my family retains its closeness. Nowadays, it somehow becomes more difficult, given the uneven temper of economics, and the political uncertainties of the times. Having to surmount broader geographic distances between members, and to struggle with individual family matter within this framework becomes difficult. Despite all that, I know in my gut, that only foolish people let petty differences fray the bonds and diminish the benefits of a closely knit and supportive family. Nurturing that philosophy pays wonderful and lasting dividends, and I dearly hope I can live to see that successfully passed on.”
I can confidently say that my brothers and I spent the last three months making sure he saw that. Our Giant heard the laughter of his 8 grandchildren regularly, and often sat on our porch with just my brothers and I around him. I am so grateful to have this family of mine. We have been through a lot but in his last days my father reminded us of the only lesson that really matters.