Cover photo for Emidio Sabatini, Jr's Obituary
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Emidio Sabatini, Jr

May 21, 1937 — December 14, 2023

Emidio "Sharky" Sabatini, Jr., born May 21, 1937, in Bristol, PA, passed gracefully on Thursday night, December 14, 2023, in the Old-World Italian tradition, surrounded by family and friends and dogs in his world's favorite place: his home. Instead of a sketchy obituary, a historical perspective is provided here for those requesting a record of some clarity regarding his life, with some disclosed records to shed just a little light on a guarded, complex, and humble personality. Again, this is for Sharky. It's the length of a New York Times obituary from the 1950's. His time. Being traditional, this obituary is a Cardinal Sin against the New Religion of Big Tech Social Media Rulers dictating five-word statements with emojis that masquerade as human conversation. Quite simply, we should always know as much as possible about the people we love. Despite the coming details, much information will still be left out, so it begins... The son of Emidio Sabatini, Sr. and Catherine Sabatini, Emidio, Jr. was a bright, dutiful family servant in the European tradition growing up, assisting in all family responsibilities during times of hardship for Italian immigrants. He was praised by his aunts, uncles, and neighbors for his superior degree of responsibility and care for others and being "such a responsible boy," providing committed maternal and paternal care to his younger brothers, as well as to his neighboring elders and relatives. Emidio is survived by his brothers John, Pat "Babe," and Ron; his children Cheryl Masi (Brian) and Daniel Sabatini (Valerie); his beloved grandson Emerson; his nieces and nephews, and his All-American offensive line - the cherished inner circle of close friends. Named after the miracle-worker and patron saint of his family's ancestral homeland of Ascoli Piceno, Emidio ashamedly disrespected his given name (even legally changing it) until he, as a seasoned man, humbly walked in the footsteps of St. Emidio while visiting his family's original neighborhood in Italy. Since that transformational visit to his hometown and St. Emidio's burial site, he became overwhelmed with unmeasured gratitude and pride for his name given to him by his father, Emidio, Sr. (even legally changing it back). Known simply as Sharky by masses of people, its meaning has been a great misconception. Emidio was nicknamed "Sharky" at the age of 10 by a childhood friend for establishing himself as a prodigy in hunting and marksmanship by "sharking up" during hunting season. Ironically, his career as a hunter would turn around fiercely in his adulthood and give birth to a lifelong commitment to protecting animals, feeding hundreds of pounds of food personally to wildlife populations per week, while donating thousands of pounds to nonprofit organizations. In solitude, Sharky customarily winterized shrubs and trees at late-night and pre-dawn hours with weather-repellent tarping during winter storms in order to safeguard small bird species. In 1954, a year before graduating from Bristol High School, Sharky fraudulently signed himself up for the Korean War as a 17-year-old while still in high school possessed by a fever to support the American war effort as his relatives and heroes did, the Italian immigrants from Bristol who, along with their immigrant brothers, represented the majority of World War II soldiers. At the last moment before leaving, however, his mother discovered and terminated the fraudulent contract, exposing her son as a minor. In 1960, he joined the United States Army, this time succeeding legally, and proceeded through his training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and Columbia, South Carolina. As with most things, he quickly excelled, this time in military rank to Sergeant First Class. Being peacetime, he resentfully accepted that peacetime was an inefficient time to expend his energies as a young man in the military and so he finished his brief responsibilities and then joined the United States Army Reserve for six years. At the end of his successful life, he claimed that there was one solitary score missing: not fighting in an American war. Because of this, he romantically became an expert on the history of American warfare, touring the country and walking in the footsteps of our heroes on the battlefields where the greatest events took place, with reverence in his heart for the great men who fought on those hallowed grounds for him to have the opportunity to have the extraordinary life that he lived. Sharky emotionally was overwhelmed by being an American with our opportunities and believed it was a reality that was almost too good to be true, and he preached this often. His love of historic objects and antiquities was born from this experience. From 1978-1980, while in another thriving business as a commercial contractor, he became an early pioneer of what later became a model for The Antiques Roadshow on PBS. His devoted commitment to education on historic military items led him to travel around the country providing gradings and estimates of war memorabilia, as well as other precious objects such as jewelry, coins, art, and antiques. He labeled those two years as an entrepreneur pricing, purchasing, and reselling war memorabilia, antiques, art, and other collectibles as the "the time that made me." But there was something else first. There was, of course, concrete... One of his great pleasures was waking up before dawn to plan out the day's agenda. For him, working was a holiday and claimed that every job he did was fun. A genetically hardwired entrepreneur, he worked his way up in the Cement Masons Local 592, beginning as a laborer out of high school and quickly becoming a foreman by age 20 on major metropolitan jobs. He quickly transitioned to his own business with his brother Pat ("Babe") and Charlie Hughes orchestrating such major jobs as foundational work for Veterans Stadium, the original home of the Phillies and Eagles, and Six Flags Great Adventure Amusement Park. It was in 1958 that his world would literally move under his feet, though. Five years her senior, Sharky was struck by a 16-year-old girl of unsurpassing beauty and shyness, Joyce Klug, the daughter of John and Margaret Klug, a bloodline stemming from Swedish and German immigrants whose DNA here originates with the founding of the country, a genetic bloodline that has provided soldiers in each and every single one of America's epic wars beginning with the American Revolution of 1776. Sharky and Joyce would marry in 1961 and have two children. "The rest," he said, "is history." He credited her with everything he would later do. Everything. Joyce's passing in 2021 would be an event from which he could never recover, either emotionally or physically, likely by design, perhaps by Providence. It was Joyce who enabled his extraordinary life. That was his sworn statement. Without her, it would have been a life with the only high points coming from the music of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Domenico Modugno, and Dean Martin. Especially Dean Martin. Which probably would've been a life that would have at least been pretty close to extraordinary anyway. Now for a sampling of some secrets... A painfully modest and anonymous philanthropist, demanding anonymity up unto this very published text here now clearly stated, he was personally included by JFK's nephew and 2024 presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., to serve on his Inner Circle for the NRDC along with such members as Paul McCartney and Robert Redford in an effort to revolutionize 21st Century environmental protection in America's national parks and vital public lands. Furthering his anonymity on an international scale, Sharky also received personal phone calls on his back patio in Bristol from Cover Girl supermodel and famed actress Sigourney Weaver and was invited to join her private advisory board for his generous and aggressive commitment to protecting the endangered African Mountain Gorillas through the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Lastly, regarding his immortal effect on posterity, as a passionate collector, he has also committed important 19th & 20th works of art and historical objects to some of America's most respected museums. It's hard to estimate where his generosity began and where it ended, because it was always performed in silence and in anonymity, and with humility. This is just a brief menu, scratching the surface, and too much has been left out, but it answers a few questions that many have asked and fills in some gaps hopefully. It also provides some record against the natural course of forgetting our ancestors in the Digital Age. This brief description, however, could never detail all the sacred relationships with strangers, neighbors, family, and friends that will forever remain private and personal and unrecorded, priceless time and moments shared between Sharky and others that only they knew about. In the end, Sharky was deeply committed to the reality that those who knew him simply knew him, as few did. And those who didn't, didn't. He understood that knowing the actual him was a nearly impossible task, enjoyed by the very few. And he unapologetically and shamelessly loved the fact that those two groups - those who knew him versus those who didn't - would never find common ground. He considered that fact a deep honor, a gift. He celebrated the notion that love and envy are terrible enemies separated by misunderstandings about who a person is versus who people see him as. He was content about being misunderstood and being criticized for being a sometimes recklessly moral figure who was not afraid to act bravely and speak freely for the sake of something good. He often preached to those who adored him: "I am who I am, and I wouldn't want to be anyone else." He credited life as something almost too good to be true. By the time he finished his second cup of coffee in the morning, he considered the day a blessing, an historic event. A soldier of a man, he loved endlessly and wholesomely to the point of pain. He loved life too much but would disagree that such a thing is possible. However, at times in his life, he would be mixed with distress and announced clearly that there is a problem at the end... He made sure the ones he loved and protected understood the following point clearly, as if it was the First Commandment of Living. And the point he hammered home as his Life Lesson is this: "Love turns into grief." However, he promised, "I would rather love no matter how it ends." On the morning of his passing, overcome by a rare and irreversible neurological syndrome, he asked of his surrounding family and friends, "Can we have another good day?" As a mentor, he painfully confessed that he loved to a flaw, trusted to a flaw, and was generous to a flaw. But lastly, he added, "If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would do it all again, and I would do it exactly the same way. And I would want the opportunity to do it all again the same way." Until the end of his days, his gorilla strength was strangely balanced somehow by a boyish innocence, and he claimed he suffered too many betrayals, that betrayal was the most unbearable pain to him. At the close of it all, however, he said, with greater pride, that overcoming acts of betrayal made all the good things in his life possible. In the end, he said, "I did it. I did my best." In the end, he asked for forgiveness on any outstanding matters, and he forgave any outstanding matters, and he asked God directly to bring him Home. In the end, he achieved an indescribable peace, a state of complete Grace. Sharky was viewed as a puzzle, a riddle. His rage was a firestorm. His compassion was that of a saint. He was sometimes an overly private introvert, insulated only by silence and dogs. On the other side of it, he sometimes rallied troops into battle with the drive of Napoleon. Regardless of which personality showed up, he loved others with an intensity and power completely beyond measure. Quite clearly, he somehow succeeded enormously in social life to an unprecedented degree, yet, however, and not at all surprisingly, he advised a private closure without a public service. A mass of Remembrance will be celebrated at the Saint Padre Pio National Centre in the United States. A mass of Remembrance will also be celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Emidius in Ascoli Piceno, Italy. Posthumously, Sharky requests anyone sharing his philanthropic spirit to consider supporting The Farmette Donkey & Horse Rescue in Pipersville, Pennsylvania, an organization that introduced him to the final love of his life, Dora the Donkey, who provided him with the ability to realize a very personal childhood dream, and who, through Sharky, will be sustained for the next three decades of her life... The Farmette - Donkey & Horse Rescue is in Pipersville, PA. The Farmette Donation Link To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Emidio Sabatini, Jr, please visit our flower store.


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