Nothing I could ever write could ever really capture the essence of this man, Tony Caputo. A father, grandfather, husband, brother, and friend he is the reason we are together as family, the explanation for our successes, the foundation of the love we give, and the strength we share.
Tony taught us how to sail, appreciate simplicity of nature, love animals with all our heart, and more than anything else, to experience the world as would a child for the very first time. He used to joke that he taught me everything I know. We laughed then, but I know it is true that my father taught me the best of what I know.
His memories of childhood and days in the navy were stories he told us over, it seemed, and over again. They were sometimes sad stories and other times exciting to be sure. While I might have listened half-heartedly here and there when I knew how the stories ended, I now realize why he held onto those days. It was not so much that he wanted us to remember his youth or to know how he explored the world. He told the stories, I think, to relive with each of us by his side some of the most important times of his life. He is a man of deep emotion and wondrous spirit.
Tony was diagnosed with primary liver cancer around Father’s Day, 2013. A man with good health and youthfulness was suddenly struck down. We grieved and prayed like so many others and tried to ready ourselves for the unknown. Then like countless others before him young and old, Tony began a regiment of treatment that would slow his disease and weaken him at the same time. Of Tony’s last treatment Betty, his wife, remembers:
As we walked down the corridor after Tony's last procedure heading towards his room at Johns Hopkins (it was a long corridor going through several connected buildings) he was being wheeled as he lay on the gurney. I walked beside him as he said "Are we in NJ yet? I haven't seen a toll yet!" His sense of humor was not lost. It was what attracted me to him in the first place.
Tony was still with us and he is here today. While his cancer is not curable and we know the inevitable will come, we are here together and we are reminded of how important hope is and of the power in positive thinking. Yet, most of all we know to live a lesson he taught us: to cherish every moment. So almost a year after his diagnosis, Tony’s Crew – Betty, Susan, Jill, Holly, Gail and Gia –will walk and run along side this great man to honor him and with him, to fight this terrible disease.