|Birth: ||Aug. 20, 1916|
New Jersey, USA
|Death: ||Oct. 23, 2006|
EULOGY FOR MY FATHER
by David Vargo
My father, Joe Vargo, was a man who lived his life fully, honorably, and devotedly. His family was always his first concern. He gave selflessly of his time, his energy, and his talents to us and to the many friends who dotted his life.
He was born during WWI, the product of an abusive immigrant homelife. He left home at 16 and traveled the United States, riding the rails. It was the midst of the Great Depression, a time of rampant unemployment and economic chaos that gripped our country. He joined the Civilian Conservation Corp, created by President Roosevelt to give work to otherwise jobless, vital and energetic young men. CCC enrollees throughout the country were credited with renewing the nation's decimated forests by planting an estimated three billion trees from 1933 to 1942. My father was proud of his membership in the CCC's and related many stories of his experience in it to both my mother and myself over the course of our lives together.
In 1942 WWII began for the United States and my father did not hesitate to enlist in the US Army. He found himself stationed in Florida where, over the course of the next 3 years he patrolled the coastline from Key West to Saint Augustine. It was during this time that he met my mother, Betty Wright, at a USO dance in Bayfront Park in Miami. One of his favorite lifelong anecdotes was how he, an itinerant playboy, stated to his friend that night after seeing my mother, "If I ever get married, that's the type of girl it would have to be." After a charming and romantic courtship filled with stories of how my father went AWOL to spend time with my mother, and gambled with Generals in back alleys to acquire enough money to buy my mother an engagement ring, they wed in 1943 and began a 60 year marriage of loyalty, love, and faithful devotion.
Rather than taking his wife home to New Jersey, he settled with her in Miami where he had bonded strongly with her family. For the first time in his life he experienced the joys of a loving family life. The ways of the Wrights were as bright and joyous as the ways of the Vargo's were dark and distressing. His personality flourished in this new loving environment. He went to trade school and studied the new trend of Air Conditioning, a career he excelled in for the next 40 years of his life, eventually owning his own successful business. He was known in the industry for his exceptional honesty and fine workmanship.
My parents traveled extensively throughout their marriage, but never more so than during those early years, when they explored the United Stated together by automobile, revisiting many of the nation's National Parks where my father had worked with the Civilian Conservation Corp.
Through a strange twist of fate which rendered my mother unable to produce children, they found themselves at odds with their deep desire and need to have a family of their own. They sought out many avenues of adoption where the doors were inevitably shut in their face. As they got older, the situation became more and more hopeless and they finally resolved themselves to what appeared to be God's will. But their prayers were not to go unanswered. Heaven had heard them and in their mid 40's, through the actions of their family physician, they were gifted with the product of a 15 year old teenage girl's disgrace.
I was that lucky product. How different my life would have been if not for the fortuitousness of landing safely and squarely in the loving arms of Betty and Joe Vargo, who proved themselves to be outstanding parents. They lavished all their love on me and spared nothing when it came to my welfare. My father was determined to give me the safe and loving childhood that had been denied to him. Together they taught me what love meant and demonstrated in every moment and action if their lives, the sublime love which God has for all His creatures.
They say such men as my father are a dying breed, that they don't make them like that any more. He was a gentleman in every way, though not trained to be one, he was one spontaneously. An avid reader, he was also a great storyteller who entertained us all with the charismatic anecdotes of his life.
In his final years, he was to prove himself even greater than any of us could have imagined. When my mother became a bedridden invalid at the age of 92, he, at the age of 87, took on the role of her primary caregiver. He cared for her 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He slept by her side, lifting her, feeding her and cleaning her. When she at long last passed on in 2004, he visited her grave daily without exception until his own final sickness and death.
How blessed I am to have been part of such a great love story. How proud I am of my parent's impeccable lives. They were pure and innocent, while at the same time strong and wise. From this point, I travel on without them. And there is in that unknown, some trepidation. But I will apply to that the compete trust in God which they so strongly confirmed in every action of their lives. It is my conviction that they are, in this moment, together in heaven, happy to have been reunited and smiling confidently that I am prepared to face the challenges of life without them. For from their new perspective they can see what we cannot and God will continue to bless them in spirit as He did in the flesh.
The very last lesson that my father taught me was how to walk fearlessly through the gates of death. He knew fully that his accomplishments here were done and that a new life was awaiting him on the other side of the veil. He shared this knowledge with me and talked freely about his experiences with family members who were coming down to greet him on the other side and help him make the transition as effortlessly as possible. It was then that I recognized in my father a great and spiritually advanced soul that I had not realized was there before.
So now I can say but one final THANK YOU to my father who taught me that the strength of a man lies not in his physical nature, but in his spiritual nature, which directs his heart and mind toward the welfare of all.
Our Lady Queen of Heaven Cemetery
Created by: David Vargo
Record added: Nov 17, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 16681353