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Eulogy – Gaetano Moliterno

Read by Lisa Moliterno on 5th May 2023  

I would like to begin by saying thank you to you all for being here as we say goodbye to dad.  Mum, Tony and I have been so grateful for all the cards, flowers, phone calls and social media posts that we have received, they have all been so greatly appreciated and have meant so much.

Trying to sum up dad’s life in a few minutes was always going to be a hard task, I apologise now if I have missed anything out, however we would be here all day if I were to mention everything dad did in his life. 

Dad was born on 14th October 1956, he was the first son of Incoronata Moliterno & Antonio Moliterno, the first generation of Italians to come and live in Bedford – Dad wasn’t alone for long as 4 years later he was joined by his little brother, and best friend Jack.

Life was busy, when my grandparents came to the UK, they bought a three-story house in Chaucer Road with Nonno’s brother Franco & his wife Mena.  Zio & Zia (as I called them) lived on the ground floor, Nonna & Nonno had the first floor and Dad & Uncle Jack had the second floor with their cousins’ Guy & Tony.  This different set up meant that the boys grew up more like brothers than cousins. It was all wonderful until the boys grew up…coming home late at night had its challenges as they had to go up 2 flights of stairs and walk directly past the bedrooms of their parents!

Growing up in Chaucer Road there were many other Italian families such as the Valerio’s, the Lionette’s, the Pagano’s and Colangelo’s to name a few, which meant that firm friendships were made and still remain to this day.

Dad went to Clapham Road School, followed by St. Gregory’s.  Dad was an ‘A’ star student – and so would anyone whose parents didn’t speak English.  Dad would have to translate for Nonno & Nonna and let’s just say that on the very odd occasion that a teacher would have a grumble about dad – he decided not to translate the negative to his parents.

Dad made lifelong friends at school, many of you are here today, these friendships meant so much to dad …. in fact one of his friends became more ….he became his brother in law.  There are a few pictures of Dad and Uncle Stephen during their school days, which we hold very dear.  Uncle Stephen must have liked Dad as he fully encouraged mum and dad’s relationship and also urged mum to stop mucking around and marry dad.  Uncle Stephen gave Dad endless support throughout the years and was always there when Dad needed him.

Dad studied very hard, became Head boy and continued his education all the way to 6th Form…….. which is impressive for a young Italian boy who didn’t speak English when he started.

It was during dad’s younger days that he started to play the guitar, he started a band with Luca, Cousin Guy and Bruno…they called themselves the Blue Demons their first ever appearance was at a school concert with Dad playing Albatross which became their signature song, success followed with many performances at other school events and church get togethers.

After school dad started his career in the financial world at the National Westminster Bank, he was the only Italian speaker at the branch and therefore he was very busy! He then went to work at Bedford Continental in the sales & marketing team however the world of finance lured him back and he joined Taylor Griffin.  Then the call came, Cousin Guy & Enzo wanted dad to join them and start Mayfair Financial Services and the rest is history.

It was at school that dad would meet mum at the age of 11.  Dad fell for mum and would ask her out over and over and was always met with the same answer – no.  Even after a Blue Demons performance, one of the band members told dad that mum would definitely say yes as he was in a band, 4 weeks later he plucked up the courage to ask her out again, however the answer was still a firm no.

Their paths kept crossing over the years, and it was at a 21st birthday that Dad, never one to give up, asked Mum out again and finally she said yes, they were married on 26th July 1980 and started their lives together at Cater Street in Kempston.  In February 1983 I was born, the first girl in the Moliterno family for a very long time. Apparently, I was lonely and so 4 years later I was joined by Tony.  Our family was complete.

Tony and I had a wonderful childhood, all down to dad’s hard work and mum supporting him the whole time, making sure the house was tidy, us children were taken care of, and dinner was on the table.  Dad’s continued efforts, working weekends and late evenings meant that we enjoyed holidays in the UK and abroad, we had cars once we reached driving age and he also paid for us both to go to university.  Dad always provided for Tony and I, if we wanted something he would always try to make it happen, however always made sure that we were kept grounded.  He would get up early to watch Tony play Rugby and he was also made to sit through my many drama performances.

Dad loved his cars, he is most known for having a Jag and driving around with the MI JAG number plate.  We would get stopped quite a bit as people would think that he was famous, in fact at a wedding in France one of the guests thought that Mick Jagger had arrived.  Dad always wanted a Bentley and after much persuasion he finally made his dream come true – however he very rarely drove it as he was embarrassed and didn’t want people thinking that he was showing off.

Dad was part of many good causes, he was on the board of directors at Bedford hospital, he was asked to join the Princes Trust as a mentor and in 2008 Dad was given the honour of becoming a Cavalierio.  This was due to all the work he had carried out for the Italian community; it was a proud moment for dad and all the family and a memory that we will never forget.  Around 12 years ago dad was asked to become the Honory Consulate of Italy, again a proud moment for all – dad always wanted to help people and this role provided him with the opportunity.

Whilst Dad had many titles and letters after his name on 23rd January 2019 Dad received the title that he had been waiting for – Nonno.  The arrival of Max made dad so unbelievably happy,  then Arthur arrived on 19th August 2019 and soon after in May 2020 Charlie came along – as the saying goes, it was like waiting for a number 9 bus, Dad and mum had waited for so long and then all of a sudden, they had 3 grandsons.  Dad loved the boys so much, whenever we would go over, regardless of whether the boys were asleep or not dad would take them out of their car seats dad and sit with them on his chair.  The boys would enjoy riding around the garden with Nonno on his lawnmower, dad arranged for them to have a play castle, swings, a trampoline and a swimming pool and dad would love to sit and watch them playing and getting up to mischief. 

Dad, I promise that we will make sure that the boys know who you were, how much you loved them and how much joy they bought to you.

I am not going to speak about the last few years as I don’t want dad’s illness to define who he was, I want people to remember him as he was before he got poorly and was taken from us.  But I would ask that you take a moment and read the quote from dad on the back of the order of service .

My dad meant more to me than anyone will ever know, he was my hero and my security blanket, no matter what happened he would be there by my side, and I knew everything would be ok.    Whatever decisions I made, good or bad he would stand by me and support me and if needed, he would be there to pick up the pieces when it fell apart. Without my dad I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

There is a famous saying “A father holds his daughter’s hand for a short while, but he holds her heart forever” and this couldn’t be more true.

Dad, thank you for everything and most importantly thank you for being my dad.