It's been one year since we lost him and it still hurts like it just happened today. I want to thank all my true friends and everyone who has followed me/supported my career for standing with my family through this most difficult year.
First on behalf of my family, I would like to thank you all for being here. Your presence here is a reflection of the love My Father had for all of us.
We share a common bond through his love, each of us playing our own harmonious melody in the orchestra of his life.
Life for my father began in a small town in the Coal mining region of North Eastern PA,
Youngest Son to Micheal and Elizabeth Opilla/ born (August 1944) in the waining days of WWII, just ahead of the Baby Boomers generation.
My Granddad was the eldest of 9 children, forced to leave school with a 6th grade education to work to support his Mother, brothers and sisters, but that did not deter him from seeking knowledge, he was a self made man who started off selling vegetables from a horse drawn cart, and eventually would build a permanent store in the basement of the new family home on Park St. in Freeland PA/
But He had larger dreams for his sons. Both would go on to be the first in the family to attend and graduate college. prior to his time in college my father was given an huge opportunity to attend college prep school at MMI(Mining and Mechanical Institute) where he developed life long friendships and a love for the arts through music and photography - this connection he shared with my mother.
he used this passion for photography,working freelance for local newspapers, in camera stores-along with support from my grandparents store- put self through college.
upon graduation from Penn State in 1966 our Nation was once again at war and my father was faced with a choice to go to war on his terms or on theirs... his true nature as pacifist he despised war, but as in all adverse situations in his life he embraced the experience and learned a lot of lessons in those 5 years he would carry with him for the rest of his life.
His true love for is country was parleyed into his contributions to the offices he worked in during his 39years of service in the Federal Government with the National Security Agency.
Service he was very proud of. He told a story from his retirement lunch when one of his bosses came over to him and said "Of all the years you have been here I have never seen you once have a bad day here at NSA" and that's how my father lived his life both in and out of the office, never once did he have a bad day.
Not Born in Annapolis, he spent the bulk of his life in this town.
He chose to raise his family here, in Annapolis.
took a chance on a transitional neighborhood. strong traditional values, like the small town he grew up in, neighbors looking out for eachother, which led him with other homeowners in the late 1980's to found the Presidents Hill Community Association.
He fought for the betterment of his community... when things recently set back he showed up to the board meeting for the first time in over a decade, determined to reform the institution he helped to found. And it was at that last meeting he spoke to us of history. a history that all of us who grew up around him will carry with us forever in our memories and stories.
More than just active in his neighborhood my father was a Generous Patron of the Arts, Serving in the past on the Board of the Annapolis Opera and tirelesly dedicated to the Annapolis Symphony most recently hosting a reception here at Maryland Hall February 27th. He had been campaigning for the establishment of a New Theater for Performing Arts that would compliment the programs at Maryland Hall and Help to boost the local economy and establish our community as the arts and cultural center of the state Capital.
He cared about his City at large, working with and donating not only his money but his time and hard work to campaigns of candidates from Democratic and Republican parties over the years.
Not just in politics, but in life, my Father judged people solely on the basis of their character and never on outside appearances.
Truly lived the tenements,
In My Life my father was the living example of what it was for me to be a man.
Living Honestly and with Integrety,
He taught me to solve my problems using Logic,
and to live a Balanced life, to treat all people Fair and on the same Level, to always work hard, and at all times be Patience, which can be summed up in to one word that reflected how my father felt for this world each and every morning when he would wake up and that is the same word and feeling that has given us such sorrow over his passing and that's the one true and everlasting word - love
My Father LOVED LIFE and he lived it to the fullest, sharing his
blessings with each and every one of us every day of his life,
THIS is his gift teaching me how to LOVE, so proud to be an Opilla, so proud to be his son.
I stand here today .... of this strong heritage through my father greatness, the sum my Parents Love.
I love you DAD.
thank you,my father loves you all