IN LOVING MEMORY

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A farewell to Frank

Editor of the Reformer:

Everyone who knew Frank Giamartino will feel the void caused by his death. I think the fact that he was so real and true to himself made you love him and feel jealous at the same time.

Wouldn't we all love to live life the way Frank did. Cherishing every moment and person he encountered, as if it was the most important in the world. What a rare human being and an example we should all try to exemplify more every day.

Kahlil Gibran said "You give but little when you give of your possessions, it is when you give of yourself that you truly give."

That was Frank. He always gave of himself no matter what and not for self interest, it was the gift he gave to us everyday.

"Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love." That's Lao-tzu.

Frank was not a large man in physical size, but his heart was large enough for all to see and appreciate. We will all be better human beings for having known Frank and if we can find a way to make this world a better place, I'm sure Frank would be very proud. Arrivederci, mi amico.

Rick John

Brattleboro, June 22


Frank was there for the forgotten

Editor of the Reformer:

The loss of Frank Giamartino is a tragedy for a group of people often forgotten: the homeless residents of Brattleboro and the surrounding area. Morningside Shelter has for many years had a wonderful working relationship with Hotel Pharmacy, and most specifically with Frank.

More times than any of our staff can remember, Frank would ensure that our residents got the medications their doctors ordered ... even if they had, as many did, either no insurance or even a small co-payment that they could not afford.

Frank would often literally make up the difference from his own funds to help these people get their desperately needed medications.

Along with Frank's generosity always went compassion and individual attention, and perhaps most of all, respect for the dignity of every person.

So many residents of Brattleboro knew Frank as a caring, generous person and community stalwart.

The board of directors, staff and especially the hundreds upon hundreds of homeless served by Morningside over the years, extend our condolences to Frank's family, and appreciation for the care he always gave to the homeless and less fortunate of our community.

Morningside is confident that Frank's spirit of caring for the homeless and poor will continue in the unique services that the staff of Hotel Pharmacy provide.

Again, on behalf of voices often forgotten or unheard, thank you, Frank, for the example you set, and the legacy of compassion that we know will continue.

David G. Mattocks

Executive Director, Morningside Shelter

Brattleboro, June 23


Giamartino's role in the community

Editor of the Reformer:

I, like thousands of others, were stunned and saddened to hear the news of Frank Giamartino's passing this last week and wanted to honor a truly wonderful and giving person.

Frank was a class act that cared about family, friends, employees, customers, and strangers alike. Frank's passion was his compassion for everyone and his loss has struck a blow to our community because of the human being he was and how much he impacted the lives of so many of us.

I knew Frank from a couple of different realms: baseball and the pharmacy. In both places he made my life better.

As an umpire he made the game better just by being there and was the consummate professional. On the baseball field he was in his element and I never left a game thinking anything but great things about him. At the pharmacy he guided me through medical changes and helped my quality of life which helped my family because of his care, an invaluable gift.

I did not know Frank well but I liked him enormously and admired him as much as any man in this town and his affect on my family is felt every day. I am thankful for the entire family he led at Hotel Pharmacy that I have no question will continue his legacy because of who they are and what Frank taught them all.

Frank was a business man, a family man, a baseball man, a class act, a Mets fan and, above all, a gentle man. Frank Giamartino was and is a force of positive change in our town and in the lives of thousands and we will never be able to thank Frank or Mary for what they have brought to our little corner of Vermont.

I have always hated the Mets but I will root for them this year if they go all the way to the series. But to truly honor Frank, if they play the Red Sox in the series, I will still root for the Sox because that is the way Frank would want it.

In conclusion, I want to thank Mary for everything she does for all of us and all of the staff at the Hotel Pharmacy for working through this week and the future because they are filled with the spirit of service and giving that was and is Frank Giamartino.

John Wood

Putney, June 25


Frank's choice of music was tops

Editor of the Reformer:

I had the rough draft of an entirely different letter ready to go, when "personal issues" delayed that, and then circumstances bigger than my own little self compelled me to postpone expressing my outrage at the mismanagement of our town and the fact that the listers office is being used as a tool to compensate for it; I'll get to that another time.

I only knew Frank Giamartino peripherally and Mary not at all. But Brattleboro still being a fairly intimate community, we've crossed paths. I inspected some buildings for them and he did what he did best.

Having no idea who I am, he made my need of the moment the purpose of his existence. I always felt like I'd walked into the best party ever (or on to one of my job sites) whenever I strolled into his domain.

I couldn't have picked better music myself: right from "Stop your train, let a poor boy ride" to that heavenly "She can dance to a Cajun rhythm, jump like a Willy's in four-wheel drive; she's my summer lover in spring, fall and winter; she can make happy any man alive."

I'll not get to know him now like I meant to, so all I can do now is thank the man for having the strength to be the best individual he could be and to express my deepest sympathies to his son Vincent, with who I'd like to share a line I woke my kids up with to often; "wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world;" and to Mary, who I have no doubt was Frank's sugar magnolia ... "Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart."

Ron Minnes

Brattleboro, June 27


Giamartino cared about players

Editor of the Reformer:

Like thousands of others, I'm in shock and mourning after the loss of Frank Giamartino.

Frank was a great man for all of the reasons stated in the various stories and columns written in the Reformer during the last week.

I was in Brattleboro last month to cover a baseball game. I got to town early and my first urge was to go see Frank and "the General" at Hotel Pharmacy, just like so many other times. For whatever reason I didn't make it, and I regret the decision to put off the visit.

That's why it's important to go see people you care about when you have the chance, because the bearer of bad news will deliver a message of sorrow one day, and the chance you thought you'd always have will never be there again.

For the last week, since former Reformer sports department colleague Jon Potter told me the news, repeated visions of Frank in umpire's garb keep flashing through my mind.

One moment replays over and over. It was the spring of 2000, and Frank was to work a baseball game at Leland & Gray. Excess rubbish (nail-laden planks) from construction work lay just beyond left field, too close to the field of play for Frank's liking, so he asked the Rebels' players and coaches to move the rubbish to a more suitable location. The game wouldn't begin until this task had been completed.

The L&G folks gave Frank a little bit of lip, implying that it wasn't their job to clean up the field.

Now, Frank usually didn't mind a sharp tongue, when the situation warranted. But he was a man of convictions, and when this little bit of lip became too lippy, the look of disdain he shot towards L&G's bench was priceless. Oh, how the Italian blood must have boiled! Suffice it to say, the rubbish was removed immediately.

Vermont baseball will never really be the same. There are so many other intimate stories about wonderful experiences I shared with Frank and General and Vince and Nick at their home on Route 30, just past those "dyno humps." There isn't enough room in the paper to chronicle all of them.

Life never really was the same for Frank and Mary and Vince after Nick passed.

I'm having a difficult time accepting the fact Frank has joined Nick in the great beyond. But like Mary said, Frank doesn't have to miss Nick anymore because they are, indeed, together again forever.

With my deepest love and sympathy to Mary and Vince, and the extended Giamartino, Garry and Hotel Pharmacy families,

Joey Kulkin

White River Junction, June 28


Rename ball field in Frank's honor

Editor of the Reformer:

A few people manage to affect so many other lives that those people effected don't fully recognize it until that person is gone.

Obviously, Frank was one of those people who influenced many of us in that way.

My connection with Frank happened on the baseball field at the Little League level. Although I didn't have the privilege to work with him on the field, I was impressed by his ability to interact and communicate with all those involved in the game -- the coaches, parents and particularly the kids.

He seemed to know how to make everyone comfortable, whether it be by scanning the bleachers for familiar faces to visit with or encouraging an anxiety-ridden 9 year old about to face a flame-throwing 12 year old in his/her first at bat.

My two sons played catcher and were therefore able to spend time in that special area where Frank's passion for baseball and his grace in human interaction played itself out.

If you've ever had the opportunity to spend time in this area on a 90-degree summer evening wearing more clothing and equipment than your local meteorologist would suggest, after spending the day at your regular job, than you know or can imagine that you might get a bit cranky. Frank seemed to thrive in this situation.

I spent last Friday evening at the Relay For Life and was mesmerized by the simultaneous occurrence of three events. On the baseball field, a Babe Ruth game was taking place. On the track, the Relay For Life events unfolded. And leading into the BUHS gymnasium, often nearly extending to Fairview Street, were people coming to thank and bid adieu to Frank. Somehow these three activities seemed to intertwine perfectly, blending youthful exuberance, a somber awareness of how suddenly life can change radically and the strength of this community to gather together to help each other in our hours of need.

My thoughts have been about Frank and his family for the last week, along with his many friends.

I have read the stories in the paper and heard many other stories of his kindness and humanitarianism toward those in need. I share his passion for baseball (although my allegiance lies with the Red Sox). I read about his wish to have his ashes buried under home plate at Shea Stadium.

However if there are a few grains to spare, then this town should be honored to bury them under home plate at our Little League field, which would sound great if it were named Frank Giamartino Memorial Field.

I would guess that Frank would be OK with this idea -- sounds like he really spread himself around anyway!

Gary Lincoln

Brattleboro, June 28


Season dedicated to Giamartino

Editor of the Reformer:

It is with great sadness that the 100-plus players, coaches, and umpires of the Connecticut River Valley Baseball League offer our condolences for Frank Giamartino's untimely death.

Frank had been an avid supporter of this "old man's" league since its inception in 2002. Without him, the league would not be as fun and successful as it has become.

We all know how much Frank loved baseball -- how else could he have endured umpiring countless league games in every type of weather imaginable? He knew the game inside and out and was always willing to help teach us. His officiating was conscientious, his strike zone famous.

Frank never lost his cool when players argued calls; he would patiently explain his view along with the appropriate rules, leaving all parties satisfied with his decisions. We enjoyed his humorous banter, his emphatic "strrIKE!" calls, and felt honored when he complimented our playing ability.

Frank was our fan, friend, benefactor, generous sponsor, umpire par excellence and inspiration. He was extremely well-liked, deeply respected, and will be sorely missed. We are all so very sorry for his tragic loss.

The 2006 season is dedicated to the memory of Frank.

Quinton Carr
CRVBL Coordinator, June 29