My Dad, Augustine Robert Senesi
Boston, MA Sep 24, 1924 - Winchester, VA May 1, 2007
by his first son, Robert - May 5, 2007
Carving the turkey on Thanksgiving
Reading to little Robbie
If you never met my Dad or knew of him it would be very easy for you to understand who he was by turning in your Bible to 1Corinthians Chapter 13.
Would you please join me and open your bibles to 1 Cor 13.
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Dad on his 82nd Birthday
Testing the tractor
Thrilled with 1st Great Grandson, Robbie
My father exemplified the unconditional love that God has for each of us. Just like his Savior he was gentle. Just like his Savior he was loving. Just like his Savior he loved even his enemies. His generosity was unsurpassed, being generous to everyone he met, friend and stranger alike. In Hebrews 13:2 we are reminded "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Allow me to relate to you some stories of my dad's love:
As a boy of 5 or 6 I can distinctly recall walking down our street in Brooklyn, NY holding my Dad's hand. He had such big hands and all the while I felt so proud and so safe being with my Dad. He was like that to his sons and loved his 3 boys with an undying love. He devoted all his time to his wife, his boys, his family, and his friends always trying, through his kindness and patience, to make their lives happier. He never had time for himself, working two jobs to be able to afford the best home, the best clothes for his wife and boys, the best education for us and the better things of life for his family. I later learned from my children, Elisa, Robert and Jeanne that they did the same thing with their "Poppa", holding his hand while they crossed a street, walking in a toy store with him as he would always spoil them with a gift, or to just walk down the sidewalk with him, always feeling so protected and so loved. He would squeeze their hands three times, to tell them "I love You" and they would squeeze back to say "I love you too Poppa".
As my brothers and I grew older he continued to teach us many things but most of all, through his silent examples, he taught us to have a deep love for God. To his dear wife, he was unceasingly devoted. If we could just approximate the love he had for his spouse we would do well. His mother-in-law, my grandmother, once said to me that my father was the best man she ever met. Although he was from Boston he settled in New York to be near my mother's family. The love he silently gave all of them, through his running errands for them, helping them with their work, taking their children out with us on a frequent basis, and just being there for them, endeared him to all of them. And he did the same for the people he worked with at the Telephone Company. He would even invite them over to our house for a Sunday dinner helping my Mom prepare the meal. All through these acts and in so many other ways, the love of Jesus shone through.
He taught us to love all people no matter who they were or where they came from and I can remember a specific example of this when I was about 10 years old. My Dad, along with my uncle, took my brother and me to a store in the Hispanic part of Manhattan. It was early on a Saturday morning and we had to wait for the owner to arrive. As we were waiting I observed my Dad talking to a man on the street corner. As I approached I heard them speaking in a foreign language that I did not understand. As they parted company both men had smiles on their faces. I later asked my Dad who he was talking to and he said that the man was a stranger to the US and had just arrived from Puerto Rico. My Dad said he was telling him how wonderful the US was and how much he would enjoy it. He also said that the man seemed a bit lonely and that he encouraged him to take heart. Although it was difficult for my Dad to speak Spanish as he only knew Italian, he still tried and they had a wonderful conversation. I learned much from that exchange but most of all I saw the love of Jesus shine through Dad to a complete stranger.
Through his love of all men, he would never tolerate disparaging anyone. As children we would sometimes come in from the street and repeat something disparaging we had heard about some nationality or race. My dad would promptly chastise and correct us. He told us in no uncertain terms that he would not tolerate speaking like that in his house, but more importantly he would not tolerate us thinking like that in our hearts. He would use the true-life example of his parents who had arrived from Italy in 1922 and had moved to a poor, run-down neighborhood in Boston. A little later on his mother, who had just given birth to another child, became sick. A neighbor, a black woman who was a stranger to the family, helped my grandmother take care of her children and helped nurse her back to health. This kindness remained with my Dad and is one of the reasons he wanted us to see the love and the goodness in others.
He always wanted to help. That's where he found his joy. He wasn't into much…he didn't have hobbies or things to occupy his time. But he was into people and making them happy. His greatest happiness was when his wife was well-taken care of and when everybody around him was happy - family, friends and even strangers.
My dad had macular degeneration, and his eyesight was failing terribly. This couldn't be cured. He was hard of hearing and within the past year he had to get a hearing aid. And the bones in his feet were dissolving, so he could only walk with special shoes. Even then it was extremely painful for him to take steps. But for all of his terrible discomfort and difficulties, he would be in church every Sunday so he could hear God's word preached to him. And early morning, every day, would find him with a strong light and magnifying glass in hand, reading God's word and being joyful over the promises His Savior made to him.
We have here from his church, men who are his pall bearers. He loved them. But anyone here who knew him could also be his pall bearer as he loved all of you, and I know you love him. He spoke so highly of his church family. Although I don't know all of you, he described you to me and had nothing but praise for each of you. He looked forward to coming to church on Sundays and so appreciated the kindness of Ennsley and Toni Hicks who would bring him and Mom to church. Most recently, his heart was truly broken when Margaret Dingas, Nancy Flannagan and Ed Hamstead went to be with the Lord. I can't help but think he is now with them, rejoicing and glorifying the Father. We just learned last night, from the EMT folks who assisted him and took him to Winchester Hospital, that they were baffled by how appreciative he was of them helping him. He kept thanking them. They were shocked when they later found out he had gone to be with the Lord. The EMT folks actually came to the funeral home to pay their respects to this man who was a stranger to them.
In Matthew's account of the time Our Lord and Savior, Jesus, was instructing His Apostles, He said: Matthew 10:32 "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven." And He goes on to say in verse 39 of that same chapter: "He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it." Dad, your life has been the testimony of a Son of God through your love and through your heart. And you have truly found your life through Jesus. We have all lost a wonderful brother in the Lord. We have lost a loving brother to Rose and Frank. We have lost a dear father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and uncle. Mother has lost a devoted, loving husband. But God in His mighty splendor has added a devoted saint to his heavenly realm. Now dear Dad, you are able to praise your Father in heaven forever - in His presence. We look forward to joining you there one day and praising the Lord together.