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Arthur Richard Vuolo

November 22, 1919 — October 11, 2015

Arthur Richard Vuolo

Born the fifth child of eight in a loving and close knit Italian family, Arthur R. Vuolo entered the world on November 22, 1919 in Newark, New Jersey. His parents, Mariano and Angelina (Lordi) Vuolo, were newcomers to America who built a full and satisfying life together.  Early in life he “put two clothes pins together” and knew he would pursue a career flying. Inspired by Charles Lindbergh and other aviation legends, he realized that great joy would be found in spending his working life among the clouds. His children recall being among a handful of school-age children who had a parent who actually was excited to go to work. Art graduated at 16 years of age, valedictorian of his high school class, and eager to pursue his dream of being a pilot. To that end, he entered the Navy, earning his wings in 1943.

Art met the love of his life, Amelia Casino, in the summer of 1942 through mutual friends. Married on June 13, 1944, Art and Amy resided in Key West and began a wonderful journey of living in various places, having great adventures and raising their four children. We have fond memories of all four of us going to sleep in the back of a station wagon and waking up ten hours later in New Jersey, where we often spent vacation time walking the boardwalk, playing in the sand and surf of the Atlantic ocean and developing deep and abiding close family ties with our wonderful, diverse and sometimes eccentric extended Italian family. Dad loved to drive and was obsessed with the destination, not the journey, so extra stops along the way were not part of the itinerary. While sometimes appearing to be the stern disciplinarian, Dad had a soft heart and showed extraordinary generosity,  kindness and even-handedness to all four of his children. He modeled a “do not interfere” policy that did not invite intrusiveness but always extended help when it was requested.

A man of few words and dry humor, he will be remembered for his “Vuolo-isms” that still pepper our conversations today and keep his memory alive and well.

After retiring in 1979, after 30 years as a corporate pilot for General Motors, he and Amy travelled around the country, often driving their van to visit family or seeing sights best viewed from “blue highways.”

Leaving Nevada in summer 2013 was not an easy transition for Art and Amy, as Boulder City had evolved into a place where they were rooted and blossomed. They both volunteered for Lend-a-Hand, driving people to appointments, helping them shop and being of service.  Very involved in St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, especially in the Lazarus ministry, they both helped families during times of death, loss and grief.  Dad maintained an “attitude of gratitude” right to the end of his life, thanking his son John each night for sharing his home with him.                                                                                                                                                 

The greatest legacy that Art left behind is the strong bonds of devotion to family. With a twinkle in his eye and a $50 bill crumpled in his hand, he would send his kids off at the airport with the advice, “Get yourself a hamburger.” Yes, indeed, a more generous and humble man would be hard to find.

As young people we were all reminded that “To teach you talk; to learn you listen.” He was convinced that was why we have one mouth and two ears.

A man of deep and abiding faith, he raised four children in the Catholic faith and remained an active member of several churches over the years. Not one to proselytize or push his views, he quietly demonstrated his commitment to God’s word and faithfully followed the tenets of the Church. His love and fidelity to his wife of nearly 70 years clearly expressed his belief that a strong family is the foundation of a strong society. His own brothers and sisters remained in close touch with one another, no matter the distance between them.  This kind of kinship is rare these days but is something that his four children hope to be able to maintain, not just with relatives but with those many friendships that nourish us and keep us strong on life’s journey.

The memories live on and we are grateful to have had our parents for so many years.

As we bid Dad farewell at John’s house in Bellingham, John recited the final verse of a Warren Zevon song with a slight variation on the final line—a prayer for all of us:

Don’t let us get sick

Don’t let us get old

Don’t let us get stupid, all right?

Just make us be brave

And make us play nice

And let us be together tonight (And let Mom and Dad be together tonight)

 

 

 

 

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