Wednesday, September 08, 2004
I just learned that Nick Venetucci passed away yesterday at the age of 92. The void in our community created by his absence can never be filled. He generously gave pumpkins away to school children every fall for 50 years, making no profit from his farming. There is not a person in this city of half a million who grew up here who does not have a memory of taking the field trip to his farm to select a pumpkin to take home. He stopped a few years ago very reluctantly due to poor health and severe drought. Last year even though the drought would not support a pumpkin patch, he planted a field of marigolds so that as we drove past his farm on our ways to and from work we would have something beautiful to look at. He has deeded his land to the Catholic Church as he and his wife Bambi had no children. The Venetuccis, the Pinellos, and the Janitells are all Italian immigrants who settled and farmed this land long before anything else non-native was here. Many schools in my home district are named after them. We will miss Mr. Venetucci. May God bless him for all his good deeds.