Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rest in Peace - Angie Carmassi

Angelo Carmassi's "official" obituary makes no mention of his love of top spinning!
Angelo John Carmassi March 29,1929 - May 30, 2011 Passed away peacefully on May 30, 2011 "Memorial Day". Wonderful husband and father. Beloved spouse of Lorraine for 56 years. Devoted father to Dennis, Loren and Carol. Father-in-law to Vic, Victor and Darren. Cherished Grandfather "Nonnu" to Bryn, Christopher, Avery, Kevin, Jack and Hayley. Brother to Herman and Paul. Born in San Francisco and a graduate of USF. A patriot, veteran of the Korean War , dedicated educator, Vice Principal of El Camino High, Principal of Parkway Jr. High, member of the Grand Jury, Opus and SIRS. Loved crafting birdhouses and welcoming birds into his garden. Passionate for computers, technology and avid movie buff. Superb entertainer and musician playing for the infamous Minestroni Four. Gifted with words, a master storyteller always delivering and enjoying a classic joke, a martini and a good cigar. Memorial Celebration to be held Thursday, June 16 at 2pm at The Sharon Heights Country Club in Menlo Park.
His love of kids is mentioned - he was the Principal of Parkway Jr. High, South San Francisco, California when I met him. He motivated the kids in his school by teaching them to spin tops, getting them so excited about tops that the loss of top spinning privileges was a big motivator to get good grades and to behave properly! For me, the most telling moment was when I saw dozens of kids gathering in his office before school the morning I was there... to wax their strings on his big block of "special" top string wax on his desk, and get a few tips on best techniques, etc. When I was in Jr. High, voluntarily going to the principal's office was something never to cross my mind!

Below, Angie introduces me before my top show in the library in January of 1991.
Mr. Carmassi gathering the kids in the Gym later for them to show me their top spinning skills, including "furthest throw to land spinning",
Angie's own invention - the dollar bill target shoot! (below - note the oversize dollar bill in the middle of the basketball court! Angie told me that he tried it with a real dollar bill, but it was too hard for the kids to hit, and he wanted them to experience success!) Hitting the target got you a dollar bill from Mr. Carmassi's pocket on the spot!

After years of being admonished to never wear shoes in the gym, and other measures to protect the precious floor finish, I was amazed that Angie loved tops and those kids a lot more than the floor condition! Imagine not only allowing but encouraging long distance top throws and target shoots in the gym!

Below - Angelo John Carmassi March 29,1929 - May 30, 2011
Don Olney showing my top collection to the kids at Parkway Jr. High - January, 1991!

Thank you Angie - I hope you are spinning in heaven!

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