Salvatore R. DePasquale - In Memoriam

 

 

Yearbook Saying

Bristol   . . .  
college, chemical engineering, 
then off to Europe  . . .  
likes tinkering with an IBM 7600  . . .  
hates be subclassed as a homo sapien  . . .  German enthusiest  . . .  "Ssssal" . . .  
"Cease your constant torrential outflow of illogic!"

Senior Superlatives: "Most Serious"

Activities: Football, Indoor Track, First Honors. Math Club, Associate Yearbook Editor

 

 

 

 

In Memoriam

Sal passed away on May 9, 1991 of cancer.  He left a daughter, Regina Rose who lives in Denmark.  Sal's immediate family still lives in the Bristol, RI area.

Picture at left taken in 1990.

Biography (Written by Larry Gomes) - July 2007

Sal came to De La Salle in our Sophomore year.  He had previously attended a Catholic boys school in New York in a preparatory program for priesthood, but decided it wasn't for him.  Since he and I both lived in Bristol, we commuted together on the bus and so we became friends.  

I visited him at his home in Bristol many times and got to know his mother, father, two sisters and three brothers really well.  They were a very close knit family and Sal's mother always liked serving a large traditional Italian dinner whenever the occasion arose.  I always called Sal's father "Mr. D" and he and I had a common interest in MG sports cars.

Sal was very interested in chemistry.  He had a lab in basement of his father's house where he used to make up all kinds of concoctions.  Some of this stuff looked downright dangerous when it started smoking or bubbling, but he never caused any damage.

Even though he was not able to physically contribute, Sal volunteered his help to the DLS football team.  He was also on the yearbook staff.  He was one of the smarter guys in our class and I will always remember when he walked into a classroom, everyone would start saying "Ssssssal".

When we were deciding which colleges to attend, both Sal and I were constrained by funding.  He wanted to be a chemical engineer and settled for U.R.I.   (I wanted to be a forest ranger, but did not have the money to go to the University of Maine, so I also settled for U.R.I.)  We decided to room together after we both got accepted.

We ended up in room 223 at Adams Hall on the West side of the campus.  This was one of the older dorms, with 4 floors split into two wings and a common bathroom/shower facility in the middle of each wing.  When we arrived at our room, it was in need of paint.  Sal chose black for the walls and blue for the ceiling.  We instantly became know as the students in the "black room".   

Since I was handy with carpentry, I installed hanging bookshelves and we split the room into a study section and a sleeping section with some fake walls made out of black mesh.  It was dark during the day, but at night it looked great when we turn on our "black lights" and the posters on the walls lit up in weird colors.

At that time, U.R.I. put most freshman students into large auditorium-sized classes of 300-400 students for the basic core classes like math, chemistry, biology, etc.  The chances of running into straight-A students in these classes was a statistical certainty, eliminating any chances of getting our marks scaled up.   After the first year, I was barely staying in school with a 2.0 average.  Sal was doing better, somewhere around 3.0, but he was not happy in his chemical engineering major.

Sal and I were both worried about getting drafted during the Viet Nam war so we enrolled into an ROTC class (which was basically a WWII history class) just in case our number got called.  Back then, the Selective Service used a lottery to assign a number from 1 to 365 for each month and day of your birth.  

In February of 1972, the lottery numbers were pulled for our birth year.  I can remember everyone sitting in the hallway listening to the radio as each number was announced.   Sal got "299" and I got "313", which meant we were way above the threshold with no chance of being called.   

As some point during Freshman year, Paul Primiano told us about the business program at U.R.I. he had enrolled in.  It had smaller classes (ie: less competition) and his subjects sounded a lot easier to us.  We both decided to switch into that program for the second semester of Sophomore year.  

Since we were not sure what subjects to take, Sal came up with the idea of signing up for 10 courses and letting the computer do the scheduling for us.  I agreed, so we both signed up for the same 10 courses.  When our schedule came through, we were shocked.  The computer had scheduled us for all 10 courses!

Sal suggested that we go to all 10 classes and then drop the 5 that we liked the least.  Again I agreed and so we began going to classes, pretty much 9 to 5 every day.  At night, we would work together on homework.  Sal was a whiz at math and that helped me a lot.  I was a whiz at Fortran programming and marketing courses, so I helped him with those.  After 4 weeks, we came to the drop deadline and decided not to drop any courses.  It was not easy, but at the end of our Sophomore year, we had gotten a full year of the business program done in just one semester.

Also, at the end of our Sophomore year, we both dropped out of ROTC.  The Army Sergeant in charge was really disappointed, but to continue in ROTC, we would have to enlist and we were not ready to do that with our high lottery numbers.

In our Junior year, we continued with the double-course load, taking 10 courses in the fall semester and 10 courses in the spring semester.  Meanwhile, Sal was already thinking ahead.  He had calculated that if we took 2 summer day courses and 2 summer night courses, we would be done by August of our Junior year.  This really appealed to both of us, because it would save us from financing our Senior year.

After completing the summer courses, we went to see the Dean about getting our diploma's.  He was not happy.  He said we had not taken the courses in the correct order (ie: we had ignored pre-requisites) so we could not graduate.  Sal told the Dean, the computer did the scheduling and so it was not our problem.  But the Dean still would not give in.  

On the way out, Sal said something to the effect that one of his relatives was a writer for the Providence Journal and it was going to make a great story in the Sunday paper.  That got the Dean thinking, so he said, don't do anything and he would get back to us.  A week later the Dean called and said we could pick up our diploma's, but we could not attend graduation.  Of course, that was fine with us.

Meanwhile, our student loans for Senior Year had come in.  Sal had always wanted to visit Europe (he had relatives in Italy), so we decided to use our loans to fund the trip.  Again Sal figured out all the angles, coming up with the exact dates for the trip.  His idea was to purchase a 30-day Eurail pass that would give us unlimited first-class train travel.  

When you first used the pass, the conductor would write the date onto the pass, and it would be good for 30 days from that date.  But Sal figured out a way to get an extra two weeks by changing the dates (ie: like making a 1 into a 7 or a 3 into an 8).  I can't remember the exact sequence, but it worked.  We got 6 weeks of train travel for the price of 4 weeks.

In our Freshman year, we had signed up with the  International Pen Pal Directory and had been corresponding with female pen pals in Germany, Denmark and Sweden.    On our trip to Europe, we first visited with Sal's relatives in Italy, then we proceeded to visit with our pen pals.  We got lots of free meals, free tours and sometimes they even gave us a place to stay.  It was great fun and really helped to cut down on our expenses.  After all, we only had $1,000 to spend for plane fare, train fare, meals, accommodations and side trips, so we needed all the help we could get.

When we got back, the economy was in a recession.  The Arab Oil Embargo which had started in 1973 had caused gas rationing, sending the economy and the stock market into a free fall.  I had been fixing cars on the side and that became my full-time job.  Sal got a job in a restaurant.  Finally after sending out our resume's for months, we both got jobs in the Spring of 1975.  Sal got a job as an accountant for Ingersoll-Rand in New Jersey and I got a programming job at Amica Insurance in Providence.  

Sal then ended up changing jobs several times.  He worked for Touche Ross (one of the big 8 accounting firms at the time) and traveled to companies all over the U.S. as an auditor.   He eventually ended up working for Phillips Petroleum in Tulsa, Okalahoma in the early 1980's and finally relocated back to Nashua, NH in the late 1980's working for MA-Com.  At some point during his professional career, he changed his name from Salvatore R. DePasquale to Richard S. DePasquale.  I was never sure of the reason, but I always called him Sal even though his co-workers called him Richard.

He really surprised me one day, when he called and told me that he was getting married to his Danish pen pal.  I think it was in 1976 and I had just taken a new job in Worcester.  He wanted me to fly over to Denmark to be his best man at the wedding.  I did not have any vacation time so it meant taking several days off without pay from a new job and I declined.  In retrospect, I wish I had done it, but sometimes you make the wrong decisions for the right reasons.

He got married and his new wife moved to America to start a family.  That was the second surprise call, when he said they had a baby daughter (sometime around 1979).  I remember visiting him and his wife in Okalahoma shortly after Regina was born.

Unfortunately the marriage did not work out and when Regina was 4 years old, her mother moved back to Denmark with Regina and he never saw her again.  That was really hard for Sal.  He tried for years to get visitation rights, but the courts in Denmark would not grant it.

Another thing people did not know about Sal is that he had a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy.  I always knew he had a problem getting up stairs, but he always told me it was just an enzyme deficiency.  I suspected it was more serious than that, but respected his right of privacy about the problem.

As he got older, he had to really struggle to get up stairs and eventually had to walk with a cane.  When he moved back to Nashua, NH in the late 1980's, my wife and I used to stop by and give him a hand moving stuff around or carrying things upstairs.  His family also used to come by and help him out.  But he was stubborn and he would not move his bedroom from the second to the first floor since it forced him to make the trip upstairs at least once each day.

One day, he asked me to come to his house and when I arrived he told me he had cancer.  It was really a shock to me since he was only 36 at the time.  He also asked me to be the executor for his estate.  I really did not want the job since I knew his family so well, but I reluctantly accepted.  Over the next 6 months, Sal got weaker and weaker.  He had decided not to go through chemotherapy since his muscles were already too weak.  He opted instead for pain-killing prescription drugs and tried to eat a very healthy diet.  But in the end, the cancer took him.

After he died, I worked with his family to arrange his funeral and burial.  We were able to find a plot in Bristol, RI so his family could visit his gravesite.  I held his estate in trust for several years until his daughter was old enough to be contacted.  Eventually she did come to the U.S. and visit with Sal's family.  She is now happily married living in Denmark with her new husband. 

In closing, I would like to share with you one of Sal's favorite sayings:

"All things will pass; nothing will remain but death and the glory of deeds".

Rest in peace, my good friend...

 

News Story about One of Sal's Brothers

Novice actor lands 'Underdog' role
East Bay Newspapers - July 20, 2006

Most Americans would kill for a part in a Hollywood feature film, but Bristol native Jim DePasquale views it as just another life experience. Mr. DePasquale never imagined he would be standing next to star Jim Belushi when he was cast for the part of an extra on the set of "Underdog," but he hasn't let the excitement phase him.

DePasquale, 47, who grew up in Bristol and now lives in Warren, was asked to audition to be a member of the SWAT team once casting directors noticed his strong Italian features and serious demeanor. He agreed, landed the part, and is now in several substantial scenes in the new Disney feature being filmed in Providence.

"Underdog," a popular cartoon of the 1960s and '70s, has been brought back to life in a film directed by "Racing Stripes" director Frederik Du Chau. The cartoon beagle superhero has been replaced with the live version for the Disney feature. The film has been shooting in several locations around Providence and will be released in May, 2007.

Mr. DePasquale, a superintendent at Valley Community Schools in Pawtuxet, took a week of vacation time to be on the set of "Underdog" for 14-hour days of shooting and more frequently, waiting. "I knew that this would be a process, but this is tedious, hard work," Mr. DePasquale said Monday on the set at the Rhode Island Statehouse.

For Mr. DePasquale, and the rest of the SWAT team actors, much of the day was spent standing under trees, eating in the production tent, or waiting inside the Statehouse for their next scene. But he is nonetheless excited about the little piece of Hollywood he'll leave his 22-month-old son, James Jr.

Mr. DePasquale was hardly star struck by the presence of Jim Belushi when he acted as one of his two personal guards. "Belushi gave me a different perspective on movie stars," he said. "He's a regular guy talking about the spaghetti he ate the night before, a real nice guy."

Many more Rhode Islanders will appear on the silver screen in "Underdog." Suzanne Noonan, from Barrington, was convinced by her husband to act as extras with their three young daughters, Kerry, 11, Michelle, 13, and Haley, 15. For five days, they found themselves waiting in the oppressing heat for hours at a time.

Not everyone enjoys the trials and tribulations of Hollywood life. "Haley's not happy. It's been touch and go today," said Mrs. Noonan. "She wants to do something more meaningful with her life."

There may not be another acting experience for Haley Noonan, but Jim DePasquale isn't through with it yet. Casting directors have expressed a strong interest in using him for the new "Waterfront" series and possibly even "Brotherhood," a movie based on the life of former Providence mayor, Vincent "Buddy" Cianci. 

 

 

De La Salle Academy, Newport RI                                                                                                       Class of 1971