The wake for Jack Deltuvia was held on Sunday, October
Monday, October 29, 2007, at the George S. Hassler Funeral Home in Jackson, NJ,
with a final shorter wake Tuesday morning, October 30, 2007.
The Mass of the Resurrection for Jack Deltuvia was celebrated
Rev. Scott Shaffer at 9:30 AM on Tuesday, October 30, 2007,
at St. Aloysius Church in Jackson, NJ.
Music for the Mass
Entrance Hymn: Alleluia, Alleluia, Let the Holy Anthem Rise
Eulogy given by Jack's son, John J. Deltuvia, Jr.
In the name of Light and Life.
"We take care of each other. That's what it's really all about, isn't it?"
In my last comprehensible conversation with my father, before he was reduced to grunts and body movements to try to communicate, this was the last thing he said to me, after a talk about how he felt guilty that my mother, Pat, Ellen, and I were spending so much time visiting him at the hospital.
My dad and my mom were married for 45 years. They courted for a long time before marriage, though, and were together for over 50 years. I work in child support and alimony enforcement, so I know that's not exactly a small accomplishment in itself. And still he worried about how much time Mom was spending at the hospital, because he felt he should be taking care of everyone, not the other way around.
My dad was a reluctant leader. The reluctance didn't show to many people; he understood that in order to lead, he needed to project confidence and a strong sense of direction. But when leadership was necessary, and he was the one who - by the will of God or whatever - wound up with it, he would take on leadership. At the request of Father Duggan, he took on the direction of the St. Veronica's Adult Choir for many years, starting when the late Rev. Mitchell J. Cetkowski was still pastor, and ending during the pastorate of the Rev. Brendan Williams. When commercial property investors tried to turn chicken-coop zoning into gas-station and shopping center zoning close to the houses in Brookwood 4, and again when developers wanted to build high-density apartments, he led petition drives against them - and led people in showing up at zoning board meetings as well. He managed to keep the development at the corner of Woodlane Rd and New Prospect down to its current level of a dentist's office and a WaWa.
He was often in awe of what others accomplished - including my siblings and myself - but equally often, he could not find a way to express that without losing the aura he felt he needed to maintain for leadership. In fact, he was a very humble man, especially when it came to the Divine. The late Msgr. Dominic Turtora asked him to become the first member of the married Diaconate at St. Veronica's, but my dad refused: Domine, non sum dignis. He felt himself to be unworthy to be a regular minister of Baptism, and especially to give Communion to others.
It is impossible to talk of my Dad without talking of music. He spent about 50 of his 73 years either singing in or directing various choirs, including occasional combined choirs of many different Christian churches at ecumenical services. While employed at Bell Laboratories, he also sang for several years in the Holmdel Mixed Chorus, which - in addition to an in-house concert series - also provided a summer concert series in the Monmouth County Parks. The chorus also performed Christmastide concerts at several nursing homes. My father did not have much formal music training; he was a physicist and an engineer. In fact, the only instrument he played was harmonica, and it's difficult to learn how to sing a tune while playing a harmonica. So if he had to learn something for a solo, I had to play it on the piano and guide him through the odd notes.
Although he refused Msgr. Turtora's request that he become the first member of the married diaconate at St. Veronica's, here at St. Aloysius he did proclaim the Exsultet for a few years. I guess music took the edge off a bit for doing something usually reserved to the ordained, especially if the pastor wasn't the best of singers - unlike the fortunate situation we have now with Father Scott's singing. Since this is a Mass of the Resurrection, I think it is fitting to remember those proclamations with the first verse:
He tried to always be there to help. Despite all his other obligations, he still found time occasionally to take an active role in the Telephone Pioneers of America, a voluntary group of telephone employees who bring assistive technology to the disabled - all for free. And one time when I had to have a tooth pulled, he got to talking with a gentleman in the waiting room who was waiting for the sedative to wear off a bit; the man's son was supposed to pick him up around five, but it was only ten in the morning and the man was planning to walk five miles home, in that condition. While I was still getting my tooth pulled, my dad volunteered to drive him home as soon as I was out of surgery.
I felt very proud and honored: both that my dad would offer that for a complete stranger, and that my dad knew that I could go 30 minutes extra without pain medication to do a favor for a person in pain and in need.
My dad did many, many, other things to serve individuals in need, as well as groups he helped, and of course his service to his God through the Church. If he could have read this while still alive, he would likely have asked me to throw the whole thing out, that it was too complimentary to him to be read in a church to so many family and friends. I can only hope that where he is now, with the clarity of sight not afforded to mortals, that he simply acknowledges his own life and the 73 years he spent in service to his family, his community, and his God.
There is a song my dad learned to sing as a solo at the request of the late Msgr. Turtora, upon the occasion of his 25th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, back when my dad was choir director at St. Veronica's. Again, since he's never played an instrument other than harmonica, I had to accompany him on the melody so he could learn the song. I remember while he was learning this one particular song, it seemed to have a personal resonance with him; he was often called upon to lead, in the parish, in the community, and at work - but he was never really as personally confident as he had to project, so that he could get the job he was leading successfully accomplished.
SUNG: (theme from The Cardinal)
Should my heart not be humble, should my eyes fail to see,
I grow cold, I grow weary, and I know I have sinned,
Though I grope and I blunder and I'm weak and I'm wrong,
(Off-podium, at casket:)
And yes, Dad, at the last, you’ve told me flat out in words, what you've been teaching me in action for all of my forty-four years. You can rest now.
Jack was given Christian Burial at St.
Lakewood, NJ, in the Saint Patrick section of the cemetery.
Click here to listen to Jack's solo of the
theme from The Cardinal
which he sang in March of 1973 on the occasion of Msgr. Turtora's
25th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood.
Click here to email remembrances to the family.
Page created and maintained by John J. Deltuvia, Jr.
Last updated: Thursday, July 16, 2015