How much sadness should one family be asked to endure? That is the only thought in my mind as I learned that Don Nucci, co-owner and co-chairman of Mann Packing, passed away on September 4. He had just turned 70 in August.
He had been enjoying Labor Day vacation, kayaking in Oregon. According to family friends, he felt ill, was taken to the hospital and died of an aneurysm on the operating table.
He was one of the most respected men in our trade. I never heard anyone describe him as anything but honest, fair and honorable.
He was involved in civic work, building a company and raising a family.
I knew Don a long time but came to know him in a different way when we spent the better part of a week together last year after the death of Don’s son, Joe, who was only 40-years-old. I wrote about it here.
I saw Don conduct himself with quiet dignity as he mourned his beloved son. I saw Don quietly secure Joe’s legacy as he moved to temporarily assert control over the company while permanent arrangements were made. I saw Don be a rock around which his family could lean on in that time of such sadness.
Both Joe and Don at least had the saving grace that they passed away happy, on vacation. Joe was with his wife and children, and Don was with his wife Joan.
I am far away in South Africa, so I can’t be at the funeral, but I pray for Joan and for Don’s daughters Lorri, Gina and DeeDee, and ask that they be granted the strength to endure what is seemingly beyond endurable.
And may they draw some solace from the certainty that Don is now with Joe once more.