In Loss, a Lesson on Parenthood
For more than 10 years I worked for Paul Cellucci. He was, simply put, one of the finest, kindest, and most genuine men to walk this Earth. He lived his life devoted to two things: family and public service. He started his political career at age 21, serving in local government in his hometown. He would go on to serve as Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Massachusetts and then as United States Ambassador to Canada during a tumultuous time in our nation’s history. When he was stricken with ALS, he took on one final mission — to raise funds for research into the disease that took his life last week. That through it all, he remained so personable, without pretense and with complete dignity, is remarkably rare. As Bill Weld put so perfectly at his memorial, “Paul was touched by fire. He just never rubbed your face in it.”
But what was equally remarkable was what a devoted father he was to his daughters, Kate and Anne. They eulogized him so eloquently at his funeral service. And while I learned a lot from Paul Cellucci in the years I worked for him at the Massachusetts State House when I was young and impressionable and just starting out my career, I learned something new from him at that service, now that I am grown, and experienced, and have children of my own. His daughters, through their heartbreak, said their Dad never got mad at them, “He knew it just wasn’t worth it,” Anne said. And that was before he knew his life would be cut so short. And Kate closed their tribute by telling everyone that their Dad gave them the tools they needed to live by his personal motto, “be nice.”
Paul Cellucci shaped my career and my life in many ways. And now in his passing, through the remembrances of his daughters, he has given me final words of wisdom that I can only aim to parent by. Rest in peace, Governor. You have taught us well.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Paul Cellucci’s legacy, ALS, and ways you can support those battling this disease, please visit the UMASS ALS Cellucci Fund.