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Friday, April 6, 2012

NWA Capt. Louis Damiani

Word has been received that WWII Naval Aviation veteran and retired NWA pilot Captain Louis Damiani has passed away at the age of 89.  To view/sign the online guestbook for Lou Damiani please visit  http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/twincities/guestbook.aspx?n=louis-damiani&pid=156766672&cid=view 
                                                    ~ IN MEMORY ~
                                                     Louis J. Damiani
                                         June 28, 1922 - March 29, 2012
From: RNPA News Sent: Sunday, April 01, 2012 10:20 AM
Subject:  Lou Damiani Has Flown West

Louis J. Damiani , 1922~2012

Age 89 Longtime Resident of Rosemount Preceded in death by wife, June Arlene; brothers and sisters, Jim, Fran, Rose, Mary and Robert; and infant great-grandson, John Paul. Survived by children, Joseph (Sandie), David (Penny) and Michael (Sandy); grandchildren, Matt (Lisa), Joshua, Dustin, Logan, Anthony (Hannah), Jessica, Zachary and Brian; great-grandchildren, Maria, Joseph, Nathanael, Elizabeth, Elena and Savanna; sister, Anne Zacardi; special friend, Pat Saari; and many nieces and nephews. Mass of Christian Burial on Monday, 11 am at the Church of St. Joseph, 13900 Biscayne Ave W, Rosemount with visitation on Sunday, 2 - 6 pm at Mueller Memorial Parkway Chapel, 835 Johnson Parkway, St. Paul and 1 hour prior to Mass at the Church. Interment at St. Joseph Cemetery.

April 03, 2012        I am the pastor of St. Joseph Church and School in Rosemount, and I had the pleasure of presiding at this Son of St. Joseph Church. Here is the homily delivered by Lou's son, Deacon Joe Damiani, at Lou's Celebration of Life:

Louis J. Damiani
Wisdom 3:1-9, 1 John 3:1-2, Matt 5:1-12

On behalf of Father Paul and the Church of St. Joseph, I want to extend our sincere sympathy to all of Dad's family and friends.

Friends, we are gathered here today to celebrate Dad's life, to share our memories of him and to bring healing and comfort to each other.

Dad had a long life, almost 90 years. Those years were not always easy, but gave him a rich and full life, a life marked by the sign of faith.

Lou Damiani was the fifth of seven children born above his mother and father's grocery store on the east side of St. Paul.

Dad was sickly as a child. Mary and Joseph, his parents, were very worried about his health.

They were concerned that the polluted city air wasn't good for him, so they sent him to his grandparent's farm in Cumberland Wisconsin for some fresh air.

His mother constantly prayed for her son to get well. In time, her prayers we answered.

Dad survived and grew into a strong young man who served as a Naval Aviator aboard the battleship Tennessee.

On June 6, 1945 his mother received a telegram that his plane was missing in the pacific. The situation was bleak, the hope for his recovery slim.

That very day she began a novena to the Blessed Mother, and by the ninth day she learned that he had been spotted by a search plane and was safe aboard the ship.

Dad's mother, a strong and steady Roman Catholic, passed her faith on to him.

Over the years, Dad formed a deep and personal relationship with Christ, who he often referred to as the “man upstairs”.

His faith was the source of his inner strength, and the cornerstone of his life, which he acknowledged every day through his prayers and devotion.

Dad set an example for us, not only through prayer, but also through his words and deeds.

His attitude toward life was one of my greatest inspirations. He valued fairness, compassion, generosity, integrity and respect.

He never bragged or boasted about his accomplishments, which were many.

He set high standards for himself and expected them from others as well. Through his attitudes toward life,
Dad set an example for me of how to live the gospel.

In our reading from the Gospel of Matthew we heard the Beatitudes. Those teachings of Jesus that begin with the words “Blessed be…”

The Beatitudes are often referred to as the “Attitudes of Life” or the “Attitudes of Being.”

They go beyond the Ten Commandments. They do not tell us what to do or not to do, but rather the attitude we should have toward God and others.

We are called to have an attitude of humility, to live humbly and honestly before God and our neighbor.

We are called to have an attitude of compassion for those who suffer, and to support them and help them carry their crosses.

We are called to have an attitude of respect. To honestly admit that there just may be someone better at doing something than we are, and have the wisdom and courage to let it happen.

We are called to have an attitude of fairness. To be just in caring for the poor, the widows, the orphans, the homeless, those less fortunate then we are.

We are called to have an attitude of mercy. To honestly ask God to forgive us in the same way we forgive others.

Dad exemplified all of these attitudes in his dealings with others. I am sure many of you here know first hand what kind of a man he was.

A turning point in Dad's life came in 1955. He had been flying for Northwest Airlines for about three years when he decided to leave the city and move out to the country.

Eventually he and mom decided to buy a dilapidated old sheep farm, east of Rosemount.

They wanted a nice place to raise a family. I was three years old at the time; my brothers had not come along yet.

There was no running water. The only heat was a fuel oil burner and a potbelly stove.

Dad was a source of much amusement to his neighbors. He didn't know much about country life, but he was willing to learn, and he never gave up.

With the help of his neighbors he put in his own plumbing, dug out the basement, installed a natural gas pipeline, and remodeled the house.

He tried raising chickens, then rabbits, and then ducks. He was fairly successful breeding horses. But finally he settled on raising cattle, and at one time he had over a hundred head.

He was generous to those in need, he didn't expect to be praised or recognized. He just quietly worked long hard hours building his dream.

One by one he won people over by gaining their respect and admiration.

He raised his family on that farm, and lived there for more than 55 years.

My mother passed away in 1992, and for the last 19 years Dad lived alone in the house they had built.

Last March he lost everything when his house burned to the ground. He knew he would never be able to rebuild.

The loss of the farm was devastating for Dad. But it did not change his attitude. It just gave him an opportunity to start over.

He renewed old friendships, and made many new ones. He was particularly close to his caregivers who helped him get established in his apartment in town.

He lived there until he passed away at home last week. His caregivers, family and friends were with him.

He lived a full life, a good life, and was very much loved by everyone he knew.

When I think of Dad, I think of an American Indian teaching that I heard from an elder at Gichitwaa Kateri.

“There are two wolves that live within us that seek to control us: one hungers for jealousy, greed and power while the other hungers for love, peace and justice.

When asked by a young boy which of the two wolves would be successful, the elder responded, “The one you feed.”

Lou Damiani fed the right wolf.

He walked through life with humility and dignity. He was a man who had the right attitude, an attitude of being, based on his faith in Christ.

It is this same faith we share with him that promises us eternal life, eternal love, and eternal peace.

He once told me that when he drove past St. Joseph's cemetery, he would say to my mother who is buried there, “see you soon June.”

So today as we prepare to lay him to rest next to his beloved wife, we gather not to say “good-bye” but “see you later Lou.”

Thanks Dad for everything!

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