“I shall pass through this world But Once”
If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show
or any good deed I can do,
LET ME DO IT NOW!
Let me not delay it or neglect it –
For I shall not pass this way again.. Etienne de Grellet”…
You are a good man with many talents and gifts. You never allow anyone to stop you achieving the best – making you a champion. Michael Tedesco .
Mr. Tedesco was A.J’s Guidance Counselor at the High School, and I was hoping he could attend. A truly lovely man but I know he is elderly now.
If you were to be informed that you only had a few months to live, how would you live it? Would you be gentle, courageous? caring? kind? A.J. lived his entire life with those values. That sentiment was acknowledged and shared by about 80-100 of his friends on Saturday, April 23rd who came to remember him and celebrate his life at a barbecue in his memory. His friends ate hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, salmon, salad , brownies and cheesecake (his favorite dessert!) while listening to A.J.’s favorite music ( a lot of Beatles!) and drinking wine and beer at Pavilion 1 at the Glen Island Park in New Rochelle. The setting was idyllic and while chilly the sun did come out for a few bright hours mid afternoon. A.J.’s Birthday was on April 12th, and the family wanted to celebrate in April!
His Olympic friends (representing a few countries) were there from Canada (who made it a 4 day celebration!), England, and the USA. They traveled from upstate New York and Connecticut Dani and her mom who said that she always felt more comfortable when she knew AJ was traveling with her daughter Dani, and who brought so many lovely photos, Erin who brought her baby to be there!, Logan who AJ used to slide with so many years ago! There were old school friends, his best friend from Florida, Nate, his good friend from GB luge, Ray, Georgie Cohen (Israel’s first female Skeleton luge athlete!), his long time local friends, Nadi, Igor who mentioned how he would always give his change to anyone on the street who needed it. Just so many. So many people came and gave us a hug and shared stories about AJ. It was lovely.
Nancy Colon had a blanket made from A.J’s photo which we put to good use when a photo was taken with all of the Olympians. Mark’s friends were there, my friends and associates, Brett’s friends, so much support. Nina, A.J’s girlfriend from Germany had been his constant love, companion for 5 years was there also, and we gave her an engagement ring (Halo setting) as a remembrance of AJ and the everlasting love he had for her. She was totally surprised.
To everyone who came – thank you so much. THANK YOU! My wonderful office manager, Jane (who cooks a mean hamburger), Helen (who stood there for hours tirelessly), Sam (who flew in from Canada to grill??), to James, Robert and everyone. A special thank you to Nate -a new family member whether he likes it or not! To Nina, I lost a son but gained a daughter. When A.J. passed, everyone was so supportive with sending meals, cards, flowers – simply calling us. There are now trees in Israel and Turkey in his name, and so many donations made to our local Humane Society ( a no kill shelter) and also a donation was made to Meals on Wheels! Thank you all again. Please know you are all loved.
From December, 2021:
A.J. passed away on December 19th at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital after a short illness at the young age of 37. A.J. had the gentlest of souls, was so truly kind, intelligent, and his sense of humor lifted the spirits of all who ever met him. He helped his family deliver meals on wheels to the homebound and elderly for 7 years when he was younger, Being dyslexic, A.J. realized he had to work twice as hard to reach every goal he set for himself and met every challenge with a never-ending inner strength. He initiated the “Power to Excel” monetary award to either a learning disabled or physically challenged student for 7 years at the New Rochelle High School which he had attended. own miniature airport, would fly his simulator flight games endlessly, and his bedroom looked more like a cockpit than a bedroom! A.J. went to Space Camp in Alabama 7 times culminating in a scholarship for that last trip and achieved the “Top Gun” status that final week when he just 14.. ! He was named a Sergeant of the Year also that same year when he was in the Civil Air Patrol. Loving speed, A.J. took to the sport of luge at the age of 12, and was the U.S. Junior Luge Champion at the age of 14 for athletes 16 and under.
-Having a British mother, Gay, A.J became a dual citizen, and competed on behalf of Great Britain in the sport of luge at 3 Olympics (Turin 2006, Whistler 2010 and PyeogChang 2018 in South Korea). After his third Olympics, A.J. then followed his true dream of becoming a Commercial Pilot, and attended the L3 -Harris Flight School in Sanford, Florida where he excelled. A.J. was training future pilots whilst simultaneously obtaining the 1500 required hours in order to work for an airline, when he became ill with Covid, and it was then discovered he had Stage 4 cancer on July 28th..
A.J. is survived by his parents, Gay and Sidney, 2 brothers, Mark (40, and Brett 29, his beloved Fiancee, Nina Reiter who he had met in Germany, and who was his soul mate, Binky the family dog, Ashley and Grace his 2 cats (one was a feral cat and who he had wanted his family to watch for a few days ten plus years ago). . A.J. represented the incorporeal essence of a living being . His heart was that of a lion, brave, courageous, and anyone who ever met A.J. felt blessed. While he won many awards, A.J.’s greatest achievement was having wonderful friends representing many countries around the world. The heavens will welcome A.J. and his inner light which will cast a brilliance onto our earth as he forever soars in the skies. “-
Westchester is GREAT!