My father, Dante, passed away last Friday at the age of 90.

In his final hours he was surrounded by his children, grandchildren and loving wife in his home, as he wanted. We hope every son and daughter thinks what we do about our dad and our mom. Unfortunately, I know that isn't the case.

Yes, all of us in my family, and well beyond, realize how lucky we are. We didn't realize it growing up. They were great parents, but when you're a kid, you just figure everybody's parents are the same. It wasn't until we got older that we understood, when our friends would remark about how great our parents were and share their memories of coming over to our house. Or when we'd run into people who knew them from before or after we left the house, and they'd talk about our parents in such glowing terms.

We were lucky not only that we got so many years with my father, but that we got so many years appreciating how wonderful and special my dad was.

We all have stories to tell about him and his humble, caring ways. He was very smart and very interested in everyone he met. He knew everything that was going on with each and every one of his kids and grandkids, and yes even great-grandkids. Neighbors who only knew him for a couple of years would tell us how much they loved him, and my mom.

They were the cutest couple, and spent 68 years in marital bliss. We never saw them argue or yell an angry word at each other. They were a big hit at multiple diners up and down Route 130 in Burlington County in my father's final years. He took my mom out at least a few times a week to a diner. The waitresses would melt when they would request two straws and just one glass of water. They loved each other deeply until the very end of his life.

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Remembering Dennis Malloy's Father

Our dad lived a long, happy, productive and healthy life. He was the son of Italian immigrants — he spoke an Italian dialect for the first five years of his life and then learned English in school within a few months. He was fiercely proud of his family and his country, having worked for the US Department of Defense for more than 30 years. He could fix anything. His family was the first on their block to have a TV in the 1940s, but not because his dad bought one — nope, because he built his own after vocational school. Then he went on to fix TVs and then radar systems for Navy jets, which took him to countries around the world. He would always bring each of us a present when he got home, but the best part was the stories he would tell us about the people he met and the places he saw.

Our dad was truly an amazing role model for us, for his kids, and for his grandkids and even other younger people who knew him. Again, we all know how fortunate we are, and the only thing we can do is ensure that his great qualities live on in all of us and our descendants. We're sad that he's gone, but content that his suffering has ended and very happy that we were so lucky to have had such a wonderful man to try to emulate, and carry on his legacy of caring, giving and incredible warmth.

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