Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Professor Jack Revisited


December 05, 2006 "JACK" Age 50, December 1, 2006.

Loving father of Melissa Iannucci (Rich Thompson), Jacqueline, Lia, and Ezra. Cherished grandfather of Devin, Sydney, and Zoe. Dearest son of John (Yolanda) and the late Barbara. Brother of Patricia (Jon) Iannucci-Waller, Lea, Dino, Nancy (David) Welke and the late Frank. Uncle of Dylan, Alex, and Isabella. Former husband of Patty. Liz, mother of Jack's son Ezra. Funeral Wednesday Noon at the A.H. Peters Funeral Home, 20705 Mack Ave. at Vernier Rd., Grosse Pointe Woods. Visitation Tuesday 2-9 p.m. with a Rosary at 7 p.m. Memorials may be made to the Salvation Army, 16130 Northland Drive, Southfield, MI 48075.
Again, the words of Josh Graves:
Some of you have heard me talk, write and get excited over Professor Jack, a man I’d been honored to work with in Cass Park and the Salvation Army Shelter across from the Masonic Temple downtown.
I got a call yesterday from Francis, one of Jack’s friends in the shelter.
“Josh…it’s not good.”
“What’s not good?”
“It’s Jack, man. He died. They rushed him out of here to Detroit Receiving. I know you were working with him, I know you were close. I just thought I’d call to tell you.”
“Francis, you have no idea how much this phone call means to me…”
I attended the viewing and funeral for John “Jack” Iannuchi yesterday and today.
Last night, Jack’s daughters huddled around my phone to listen to his voice. I had saved a voicemail he’d left me last week wishing me a belated Happy Thanksgiving.
“I’m really sorry I can’t make it,” (we were supposed to have dinner together) “I’ve just been feeling awful lately.”
His sisters and daughters had not heard his voice in quiet some time. You haven’t lived until men like Jack leave you messages on your phone.
The family, to my complete surprise, asked me to have a part in the funeral today because Jack told us about the “priest he’d been working with.” Never had I been so proud to be called “priest.”
I could barely get the words out at the funeral. I told his family that Jack had a mind of great intellect. My 200 plus hours of undergraduate and graduate education in college were no match for his wisdom. More than a great mind, Jack had a huge heart. “Very few people,” I stammered, “possess great knowledge and great love. Jack—your father, brother, husband, and grandfather—was such a person.”
And from Josh's wife, Kara:
Josh went to the viewing tonight, he wanted Jack's family to know that we cared about him and that he taught us a lot about life and faith. The family soaked up every word Josh said about him, listening to the message Josh had on his phone dozens of times just to hear his voice. They have asked Josh to speak at the funeral tomorrow which I know for him is very humbling.
The most poignant thing that Jack said was when we asked what we could do for him -- fully expecting to be asked for a place to stay, money, etc. -- all he said was "you have already done what I needed, you made me feel like a real human for a day."
I am thankful that we were a part of his life for this short time, and because of our relationship with him, we will continue to go down and get to know more people and just be present in their lives...and to make them feel human...because that is what they deserve.