I’ve known Tito Cesi practically all my life. I met him sometime in 1972 when I was around 7 years old. I’m 57 now so that’s 50 years of my life.

Tito Cesi was my dad’s best friend from work. Through Tito Cesi we met Tito Bogie, T Margie, T Cynthia and through them so many other friends. When I met him, I believe only Paolo was around, but even then, he was already everybody’s Tito, everybody’s Ninong. Eventually he would be my Ninong twice over. But Tito Cesi was more than just a Tito or Ninong, he was family to me.

Tito Cesi had that special gift of making you believe that you were the most important person in the room. You could feel that he was genuinely interested in your life and activities. From the very beginning he always encouraged me in my writing and made me believe that I could do anything.

After my dad died, Tito Cesi became the person whose wisdom and counsel I would seek. After every conversation, I would always come away with great nuggets of wisdom and a clarity about what I needed to do. When I would go through hard times he would always give me comfort and instill in me the courage I would need for that moment and for the road ahead.

I last saw Tito Cesi in Wilson sometime in May 2019. It had been several years since mom and I last saw him. We were in San Juan that afternoon. On the spur of the moment I told my mom that we would go and visit Tito Cesi, Tito Bogie and Tita Margie. I’m so glad and grateful that we decided to go. It was a truly fun and memorable afternoon between old friends.

Our last chat was sometime in May last year when I asked him some questions about my childhood. You know how sometimes in your life you meet people who really know you and see you? That’s what my dad was to me, and after he passed, that’s what Tito Cesi was to me.

Family was everything to Tito Cesi. It was only fitting that he would spend his last days on earth with those whom he most loved. Even the way you took leave was so typical of you – peacefully, in your sleep, never wanting to inconvenience anyone.

Tito, you will be missed so very much by everyone who loves you. Thank you for making me part of your family. Your comforting presence, your kind and encouraging words, your smiling eyes, your hearty laughter, and your wisdom will be missed so much. I know that your love and legacy will live on in Paolo, Pam, Deanna, Macie, Cria, and Butch. Because you loved them all so very well, you have left an imprint in their hearts. I know that through them you will continue to live on.

Eulogy for Tito Cesi, 10 January 2022

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