Mr. Vincent Bignami passed away Monday, January 24th 2005.
Vincent Bignami - Opening Scripture Prayer
Traveled to the LIGHT Jan. 24, 2005. A gentle soul and poet, he adored his family and treasured his friends. Loving husband of Kathi, devoted father of Sarah, Jesse and Aliza. "Honorary Dad" of Tiffany, Chris and Angel. Brother and best friend of Larry. Uncle of 3 nieces and 1 nephew. Friend to many. His journey embraced the core beliefs of Jesus Christ, Buddha and Krishna. He had a quirky outlook on life and loved a good joke.
In December of 1943, many musicians were born. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison of the Doors, Peter Qualfe of the Kinks, and John Denver were all born then. Adding his own name to that illustrious list was Vincent Bignami.
Vincent was born in Oceanside, New York out on Long Island. His father Larry worked as an engineer at Grumman, and his mother stayed at home to raise Vincent and his older brother Larry. As part of the big, extended Italian family that lived in Valley Stream, Vincent grew up used to gathering with his family, especially on Sunday afternoons when they would all go over to Grandpa's house for dinner. The creative side of Vincent developed early in that environment so he covered sheets of drawing paper with pen drawings and pastel paintings. He also started learning to play the piano; Vincent already had the music in his head so he played more by ear than learning how to read the notes.
Vincent went to Wantagh High School. After graduating from Wantagh, his mom signed the papers that would allow him to join the Navy, and he started to learn how to maintain the radar on Phantom jets on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. In the Navy, he met many friends with whom he kept in contact over the years, especially Bill Bosworth and Al Shelton. Completing a tour off of Vietnam, Vince returned to Long Island and left the Navy in '65.
Back on shore, he lived with his parents and became reacquainted with the friends that he had left behind. One night he went to a party and met Kathi. Kathi went to bed knowing she had met her mate. They went to a Bob Dylan concert the following evening. Kathi was fifteen and Vin twenty-one, so for the first three years they created a growing friendship. Then they dated. Vincent was playing rock and roll on Long Island throughout this period. Kathi saw some signs that told her a marriage proposal was forthcoming. Vincent had started a job with the phone company, and bought a new VW station wagon. Kathiís parents were not always happy about the relationship, but they grew to love Vinny as their own. August 21, 1971 saw Vincent and Kathi wedded. Afterwards, there was the parent-approved reception. Later in the evening came the OTHER reception at Vincent's parent's house down the street from Kathiís home.
Shortly before the wedding, Vincentís employment was interrupted when Ma Bell's employees went on strike. Vincent became the homemaker, driving Kathi to the train station so that she could go to work in Manhattan. He cleaned the house and cooked, before he went back to pick her up at the end of each day.
Vincent's parents moved to California in 1971. In 1973, Vincent and Kathi moved into his parentsí old house on Long Island and were living there when Sarah joined the family. In 1979, they headed west to California themselves and settled in Carmichael where they were joined with Jesse and Aliza.
The places that Vincent lived and the jobs that he held aren't going to be the things that you remember about him. More likely, you'll remember the little moments that make up a life, the simple things like a smile or a laugh or some other special memory. So how will you remember Vincent?
Perhaps you can see him and the family piling into the car to drive to one of the myriad concerts that they attended. Some folks go camping or head down to Disneyland for a family escape. The Bignamis went to concerts, and memories of Vincent are intertwined with the sounds of Dave Matthews, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and scores of other artists that they all appreciated together.
Others will remember his participation as a parent at Orangevale Open School, with the many field trips, plays and creative learning experiences that helped Vincent and Kathi raise their children with openness to new experiences.
Another memory you might have or Vincent was his passion for soccer. Vincent played soccer in the backyard with Sarah, Jesse, and Aliza. He would drive them to practice and to their games, sitting on the sidelines, and rooting them on. That wasn't enough for him so he started going to other soccer games around the community watching men and women play Ė it didn't make any difference what gender the person was who was dribbling the ball down the field and kicking it into the goal. In the past year Vincent added the soccer channel to his cable package so he could still get his fill while he was resting. Even if he didn't speak the language that the sports announcers were using, he still loved to watch the sport.
Perhaps your memories of Vincent include seeing him fiddling around the backyard, shooing some squirrels away from his plants, or working in the garage or on a school project with one of the kids. A twenty minute job could take four days for Vincent, but he was happy living in the moment.
Back in the house, can you see him standing at the kitchen stove mixing up a batch of pancake batter before cooking mouth watering pancakes in the shape of happy faces or flux capacitors, or some other fun design? Often, the house was full Sarah's, Jesse's and Aliza's friends sharing a meal. The door to Vincent's house was as wide open just as his heart's door.
Some of you worked with Vincent at SBC, and you'll probably treasure the memories of a man who was a mentor and a close friend to Rudy, Chris, Steve, Brian, Bob, Mitch, Larry, Frank (one of his oldest friends), and many others. Vincent befriended the people that were in a younger generation as well as his peers.
It is said that no one leaves this earth before it is time. Vincent must have completed the things that he came here to do. And each person that is gathered here today has been touched by him in some way so that he continues to live here even though his body is absent. Remember him fondly. Remember the lessons taught to you by a man who doubled over laughing at the jokes that he would tell and weeping at a television commercial. Treasure your time with this beloved husband and father. Rest assured that one day, you will be reunited.
Family Sharing Time