My Father Ben


This blog post is dedicated to my father Ben, who passed away peacefully on June 14, 2024. Two days later, I experienced my first fatherless Father’s Day. It felt weird, unnatural. On social media, for the first time I could identify with those posting about their deceased fathers. That hurt deeply.

My father was larger than life. As a child, I thought he was the strongest man in the world. He could hit a baseball a mile and played in the Chicago White Sox farm system right out of high school. He loved baseball, instilled that love in me and was my number one fan. He and my mom watched me play baseball from little league until he became bedridden three and a half years ago. Seeing him deteriorate over that time was very painful for me. Incredibly, he never complained.

My father brought joy to so many lives. Not just those of his family, but friends, neighbors, his customers -  even the cashiers at the local Jewel. He was always smiling, whistling, and laughing. His joyfulness was contagious.

Family was everything to him. He sometimes worked three jobs at a time to provide for his family. He and my mother were constantly organizing and holding family get togethers. From as far back as I can remember, they hosted family picnics every Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July, and Labor Day weekend. Ask anyone in our family and they will tell you these picnics were an important part of their life, and we all cherish the memories of them. They also hosted Christmas until they were well into their 80s.  My children fondly remember those family get-togethers and talk about them often. Our family vacations were unforgettable. No matter the destination, we always had a fantastic time and the memories are indelible. I have tried my best to create similar experiences for my family. 

If it were not for my father, I would not be writing this blog post for DeFilippis Financial Group LLC as I would never have started this company. He owned an insurance agency and in the 1970s expanded his services to include tax return preparation. When I was in college, I helped him by preparing the state portion for some of the tax returns. Without this exposure, it is highly unlikely I would have decided to open my own tax return preparation business.

He and my mother celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary on May 14. What an incredible milestone. He set a tremendous example for me and my brother Ben on how to treat a woman, stay faithful and give unconditional love. Throughout all the ups and downs that every marriage encounters, my parents' love for each other was unbreakable.

I will miss my conversations with my father about baseball, my beloved Miami Dolphins, politics, and family. I will miss his ever-present smile and laughter. I will miss his love and encouragement. Although he lived a long, full life, for those of us who survive him, it still does not seem enough. I pray that we will meet again.