Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Be Careful What You Say

John Trunzo
This is actually a very sad story.  John Trunzo was the 6th of 8 known children of Raffaele and Giovanna Trunzo nee Ferraro.  He was also my step-father's father.

The news article below doesn't tell all the details of the story.  It mentions a heart ailment that John was suffering from, but my step-father believes that his lungs were also affected.  He told me his memories of the event...what he may have remembered and what had been told to him by his mother later.  His father worked at the Royal Battery Company, and I'm told that he never wore his protective mask at work, which means that he was exposed to all the chemicals in the air at the factory.  My step-father recalls that this is what caused his hospitalization.

I had been concerned that he had been scalded with battery acid or something along those lines, but I was told that all of his injuries were internal.  He looked fine on the outside and my step-father remembers visiting his father in the hospital.

What caused John to jump?  Was it really that his recovery was going too slowly?  Family history leads us to believe that it was something else.  John's parents were immigrants from Italy and they spoke Italian at home.  As a result John and his siblings also spoke/understood Italian.  So when some of the other men were standing in the hospital, perhaps in what they believed to be out of earshot, and began speaking about John's condition in Italian, he not only heard them, but he understood them.

John Trunzo and unknown woman
What were they talking about?  What did they say? According to my step-father they talked about how hopeless his condition was.  How he would never be the same and how he'd be scarred for life.  Do you know any Italian men?  I do.  The thought of being "scarred" or somehow "weak" or permanently disabled is a pride-crippling thought. And John apparently felt that this was the only way to restore that pride. To take his own life rather than wither away and perhaps not be able to support his family.  So he jumped.  He died.

It makes me sad...pride.  Had it not been for pride and the stupidity of those gentlemen standing around talking, my step-father may have had a much longer time with his father.  My baby sister may have known her grandfather.

Everything happens for a reason though.  John's wife, Frances, did remarry and she had many more sons and daughters for my step-dad to grow up with and enjoy his adult years.  I wish I could have had the opportunity to meet John as well, but I am grateful for the wonderful step-family that I have and I love them all.

Life.  Sometimes things absolutely suck but without it, we'd be different people.  Without it there never would have been those other children.  We're in pretty good hands after all.  Rest in peace John Trunzo.

Unknown NJ newspaper
"Hospital Patient Jumps to Death

John Trunzo, 29, Sick in St. Peter's 3 Months; Dies Instantly [hand-dated Dec. 17, 1939]

Despondent over his slow recovery from a heart ailment, John Trunzo, 29, of 23 Hardenbergh street, jumped to his death from the second floor of St. Peter's Hospital early last evening.

Trunzo has been a patient at the hospital since early in September.

Early last evening he was administered oxygen and given a cup of tea by a nurse.  She left the ward for the chart room and upon her return, she found a wind open and Trunzo missing from his bed.

The nurse peered out the window and saw the body of Trunzo on the concrete pavement below.  She spread the alarm and hospital attaches rushed to the aid of the patient.

Death Instantaneous

Carried into the hospital, Trunzo was pronounced dead.  It was announced that death was instantaneous.  Mrs. Trunzo was summoned shortly after the accident.

Coroner William H. Jaqui was called and after an investigation, he removed the body to his morgue.

Detectives Charles Reilly and James McCormick of the local police and Detective James Bates of the prosecutor's office made an investigation.  Statements were taken from the hospital attaches and ward patients who saw Trunzo leap to his death.

Death was officially given as suicide.

Trunzo had been a resident of this city for the past few years and before his illness was employed by the Royal Battery Company.

Besides his wife, he is survived by a three [crossed out and hand-written in four]-year-old son, James.

No arrangements have been made for the funeral."