A Man for All Seasons

Raymond C. Principe: A Man for All Seasons.
Vincent J. Romano: Friend, colleague, admirer…

When the last great writer comes to write about your name, it will be the dash that will resonate beyond the final date.  This was the theme of the beautifully written eulogy by Julie Ann Principe Oriente, Raymond C. Principe’s eldest daughter.I first met Ray when I was a teacher at Key Branch School, long before he eventually became the Director of Teacher Personnel for the Chicago Public Schools.  Later, I became associated with him as a member of the Gregorians, an Association of Italian American Educators.   Ray led the Gregorians during their Camelot days of the 1970s-80s. It was his Presidency that took the Gregorians to such heights that we became known as the “crown jewel” of the Joint Civic Council of Italian Americans.

In reading his daughter Julie’s tribute to this quintessential renaissance man, I am reminded of James Joyce’s reflection upon that dash between the dates: “ I will, at some future point in time, become what it is that I do today; I am what I am today as a result of what I did in some distant past.” Coming to grips with that quote from James Joyce will help to understand how Ray remained true to Ray.  How he evolved into that unfaltering pillar of strength that those with whom he engaged relied upon.

Having known Ray as a result of my personal journey…my personal triumphs and tragedies, I must go James Joyce one step further.  The impact of that dash between the numbers went beyond Ray becoming Ray.  If you had the good fortune to know Raymond C. Principe, even in a fleeting but meaningful moment, then what it is that you are today is in part because of having been touched by this man…a man for all seasons.

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