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  John Damien Vaccacio

Date of Birth: April 15, 1971
Position: Municpal Bonds Broker, VP

Dear Uncle Damien:
I miss you so much and I will never forget you. Even though I cannot see you, I know that you are there and I know that I can always come to you for advice. A lot of times my head tells me to do one thing and my heart tells me to do the other. When you were here and I could see you, I remember asking you for advice and you told me to follow my heart and that’s what I’ve been doing. Everyone here misses you so much. You may not have known this, but you have changed a lot of peoples’ lives; even the ones you just met on the street. All of us wonder why God had to take you…I guess you had accomplished all that needed to be done and God wanted you. I guess it was your time, and in time, we’ll grow to accept that. The one thing that keeps me going is knowing that you are in a better place. We will always miss you, but soon be happy knowing that you’re happy with God. “Dream as if you’ll live forever; live as if you’ll die.” “Live your life so that when you are born everyone around you is smiling and you are crying, and when you die you are smiling and everyone around you is crying.” You have done that and we will never forget you.
Love, Alyson


Alyson Vaccacio Age 11, Niece
  • On Sunday, September 9, 2001, our family came together to celebrate the birthday of Damien’s dad, Jimmy. The day was so beautiful, sunny and warm. The food was great and everyone had a very special day. It was only two days later that we learned just how special it was. We kissed our beloved son goodbye for the last time. Although we desperately miss him, we are comforted knowing that his thirty years with us were lived fulfilling his goals, giving love and showing kindness to strangers as well as friends. Because of his generosity in life, we have started a scholarship fund at Holy Trinity High School in his name. The response has been extraordinary.
    He loved his family and never ceased to extol their virtues to anyone who would listen. From the day that his niece Alyson was born, he was entranced with her, constantly showering her with gifts, circus tickets and wonderful caring advice.After graduating from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY, Damien worked in the municipal bond business as a broker. Four years ago, he joined the Cantor Ftizgerald team and was very happy to be a part of such a talented and successful group.
    Damien’s numerous close friends are a true testimonial to his loyalty and dedication to them and their various interests. They often met at his apartment to watch football. He loved the Broncos. One of his favorite gifts was a John Elway autographed football. On Monday night, he called his mom to tell her how much he had enjoyed the party. They chatted a while and then he said, “Well Mom, I love you, but the Broncos are coming on”. They won that night.

    Anne Marie Vaccacio, Mother
  • Almost all of my memories of Damien include him smiling, laughing, and/or joking about something.

    When out for dinner, we had many lively conversations and he spoke often about how great his family is. When speaking of his niece Alyson, his face glowed like she was his own.

    I think Damien was given a gift in that he was able to live like there was no tomorrow. He enjoyed good food, good wine, and good friends.

    We miss him, but I find comfort in seeing a little of him whenever we see his family. I think Damien shares his father’s laugh and his mother’s heart. To see his brother Chris is almost like seeing Damien again, they share similar features and mannerisms.

    Damo, we miss you and think of you often.
    We will never forget you.

    Femi Roecker, Friend
  • I met “D-nice” when he was a freshman in college. Damien and I immediately hit off a friendship- two kids from the New York area, we both loved fast cars and the kind of music no one else liked to listen to. One memory that sticks in my mind is a song by the group Depeche Mode. I remember buying the CD with Damien, going back to the Frat house and blasting the song “People are People,” over and over with all the windows open. Eventually our fellow brothers broke down the door,and our party was over. The other day while driving this song came on the radio, listening with a new perspective after 9/11, I was driven to tears, and had to pull over to regain my composure. God bless – I miss you bro.

    William Mattey, Fraternity brother
  • DAMIEN WAS LIKE A YOUNGER BROTHER I NEVER HAD-I ENJOYED WATCHING HIM GROW AS MAN AND A BUSINESSMAN. WE HAD MANY A GREAT TIMES TOGETHER GOING TO BALL GAMES, DINNERS AND JUST HANGING OUT. HARDLY A DAY GOES BY THAT I’M NOT REMINDED OF HIM. I MISS YOU BUDDY. JOHN

    JOHN P. MCLEAN, FRIEND
  • Happy Birthday, Sweetheart. Today,April 15, we celebrate the day that God blessed us by entrusting us with the care of one of his most special gifts to humanity.
    Love Always,
    Mom and Dad

    Anne Marie and Jimmy Vaccacio, Mom and Dad
  • I met Damo when he interned at the same firm I was working at. His job was to assist me in my administrative functions. What always stood out about him was his eagernes to help. This quality in him I feel came to define him in his all-too-short time among us. Whether in his professional relationships, with his friends, strangers on the street or especially his family, he was always eager to help. I will miss his optimism, enthusiasm ande most of all, his faith.

    Mook

    Mortimer Sullivan, Friend
  • 15 minutes after my son Andrew and Damien first met they were wrestling on the floor,throwing a football around the house and playing tag. Andrew was 5 at the time and laughing throughout. My favorite thoughts of Damien all reflect on his tremendous emotinal strength. He will live forever in my thoughts and in Andrew’s for a long time after that.

    Bob Bergamini, Friend
  • I FIRST MET DAMIEN WHILE WORKING AT TITUS AND DONNELLY. IT WAS HIS FIRST JOB OUT OF COLLEGE. HE SAT NEXT TO ME. PART OF THE TRAINING PROGRAM WAS TO LISTEN IN ON OTHER BROKERS’ PHONE CALLS IN ORDER TO LEARN THE BUSINESS. WELL, WITH DAMIEN’S FOCUS, INTELLIGENCE AND COMPETITIVE SPIRIT, AS WELL AS HIS GREAT PERSONALITY, IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG FOR HIM TO DEVELOP INTO A GREAT BROKER. THERE WAS A LOT OF PRESSURE ASSOCIATED WITH THE JOB. HOWEVER, ONCE WORK WAS DONE, DAMIEN KNEW HOW TO HAVE A GOOD TIME. A TYPICAL NIGHT OUT WOULD INVOLVE A GOOD MEAL WITH A FINE BOTTLE OF WINE, WHICH WE WOULD USUALLY TOP OFF WITH AN AFTER DINNER DRINK AND CIGARS. HIS LIFE WAS TOO SHORT. BUT HE PROBABLY PACKED MORE LIFE INTO THOSE THIRTY YEARS THAN MOST PEOPLE CAN IN A 100. HE WAS A BRONCOS FAN AND I A GIANTS FAN. WE LAST SPOKE ON SEPT 10TH AND BET $50.00 ON THE MONDAY NIGHT GIANT/BRONCO GAME. WELL, HE WENT OUT A WINNER. I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM FOR HIS FRIENDSHIP AND LOYALTY, SOMETHING THAT MEANT A LOT TO HIM. HE’LL ALWAYS BE WITH US.

    BOB KELLY, FRIEND
  • It feels like yesterday, Damo and I shaking hands for the first time sharing a beer at Kitty Gordon’s(Oneonta,N.Y.). We both just accepted a bid to enter a fraternity together. Little did we know that the next 8 weeks were going to make us closer than we could have of ever imagined. We were the two pledges that received the most abuse from the brothers, maybe the brothers thought we deserved it because we were stubborn and the hardest to break. He and I were never afraid to speak our mind, which normally got us in trouble, but we weren’t about to change our ways. 10 years later we knew each other better than any two people that spent their whole lives together. I will miss you D-nice but will never forget you.

    Ken Ford, Fraternity brother
  • In thinking of what to write as a tribute for Damien, I have become a ball of tears going through my memories of him. His laugh, energy, and irreplaceable personality will be sorely missed. I think Damien was put on earth to show the rest of us how life is supposed to be lived. He worked hard, played hard, loved his family and friends, and had a smile on his face all the while. Damien – I think of you often, and only wish you were still here with us. I miss you bro.

    Jake Ritchie, Fraternity Brother
  • I met Damien, or D-Nice, our Freshmen year at Hartwick. It’s too difficult to recount the times we spent together because there are so many. From trips to Key West to the Adirondacks, countless nights going out in the city for dinners and drinks, playing golf, going to baseball and football games, spending time with him and his parents by the pool, you name it, we did it.

    For me, it’s comforting to speak about Damien as if he is still here. I feel he is in many ways. With whatever I’m doing, so many times I’m reminded of him. I miss his companionship and his friendship. I miss his excitement, his carefree stlye, his generosity, but most importantly I miss the fun you knew you would have when you were with him. Now my thoughts of him make me laugh and make me feel good actually.

    Damien had tremendous charisma and passion for enjoying the moment. It is difficult to impact a person’s life, and yet Damien did it to so many people. I’m blessed with all my memories of our time together and that makes me happy. That will always be with me and always make me smile. D-Nice, I miss you, but you’re not gone. Someday I’ll see you again.

    Shawn Humphrey, Friend
  • Damien, great friend, roommate, fraternity brother, master of the good time.
    Damien and I made our first of many trips together our sophmore year in college. We travelled with some friends to the Vaccacio condo at Long Boat Key. Damien was always looking out for people and making sure they had fun. I did not know the friends we picked up in Merrick, but by the time we were “South of the Border”, I was the Colonel Bugman and we were doing mega mug cheers. Damien made sure I was having a great time at every corner.
    His deep caring for people, blessed to him from his parents, was carried through out Damien’s life from the way his eyes would light up when talking about Alyson to calling a friend he knew was down.
    He always wanted to share his great mood after a successful trading day or, meeting a new girl with others. The phone would ring at the apartment and down to Mulberrry Street we would go. “Hey waiter, (he would ask by name,) can you put on the Frank Sinatra I like?”, and the fun would begin.
    I am very glad I got to spend and share so much of Damien’s life with him. I think about him often, and wish he were here. It’s these times that I realize he will always be here. The fond memory shared among friends, the way we discuss how he would react to something, is a true testament of the strength of the memory he leaves behind.
    On our most recent trip, the two of us went to Nantucket to get away for a few days. It was late fall so the island was empty. We did a lot of walking, talking, relaxing, and a little drinking. I was so happy to hear Damo describe his happiness and his commitment to make every date count.
    His excitement, energy, caring of people and charisma are all the ways I remember…

    Peter Glass, Friend
  • D-Nice

    It’s gotta be the laugh. That laugh that resonates through the room and makes everyone feel welcome. I still hear the laugh and it’s comforting to know that you’re watching over us. Don’t worry, we’re having a good time (you wouldn’t have it any other way). You have touched so many of our lives w/ your sensitivity and your passion for life and living to the fullest.

    I can remember driving the twisting roads of Upstate New York in the Corvette without a worry in the world. You always knew how to enjoy the moment and I feel so fortunate to have spent many of those moments with you and I thank you for that. You will be forever missed but you will always be in our hearts and our souls. Love you brother.

    Huck-

    Frank Huckabone, Fraternity Brother
  • damien,

    There has been something missing in all our lives this past year. The day just isn’t the same without talking to you. I miss your laughter, hearing about your antics and your kindness to others. I know you’re up in heaven looking out for all of us who miss you so much.

    Suzy Alpert, freind
  • D- How can someone born on April 15 be so charming and lively? You are in my thoughts. I miss you.

    Laura, friend
  • Dear Damien,
    It seems like yesterday that you were imitating and making fun of me. I still can not believe that you and “the boys” are not here with me. Whenever Robbie and I are with your Mom and Dad they make me feel like you are right there next to us, carrying on. They have brought your spirit and life back to me and others who knew you. It is a great feeling! Your Mom and Dad gave me a bracelet with your name on it. I am so honored to wear it in your memory, forever. Everyone that knew you has a great story of an event that they had with you. You really left an impact on everyone. Just like me, they loved your company. I never got a chance to thank you for helping me out with my personal problems a few years ago. I want you to know that your friendship, loyalty and honesty meant a lot to me. You were a great help through a tuff time. When I think of you, which is everyday, you remind me to be happy and truthful in my life. God bless you. Forever with me.
    Love Al

    Al Poto, Friend
  • I will always be so proud to tell anyone that I am Damien’s Dad. Damien could meet anyone and somehow always find the one statement that would make that person feel like the most important soul in the world. That’s because he always tried to be as honest and kind as his heart would allow. I believe that ability was a gift that came from truly caring about the feelings of others. One did not need to be a close friend or relation to gain his notice, and nothing pleased him more than to know that he could be a true friend in many ways to so many people. That love and caring for all of us will never end.

    Jim Vaccacio, Father
  • Damien,
    Your smile, your laugh, and your zest for life is what I remember most. Your love of sports and thoughts of your horrendous spelling make me smile. The days we spent tutoring each other are a special memory for me, as are the roses you sent on Valentine’s Day 1988. I’ve named my son Thomas John in your honor and I can only hope that he will be as loving, as loyal, as generous, and as giving as you were.

    Patricia Coffey-Fischer, high school friend
  • Damien,
    Your smile, your laugh, and your zest for life is what I remember most. Your love of sports and thoughts of your horrendous spelling make me smile. The days we spent tutoring each other are a special memory for me, as are the roses you sent on Valentine’s Day 1988. I’ve named my son Thomas John in your honor and I can only hope that he will be as loving, as loyal, as generous, and as giving as you were.

    Patricia Coffey-Fischer, high school friend
  • Damien, I will never forget all the fun time we had as kids on Hendrickson Ave. Me you and Jeff, the three musketeers always together.Your friend always
    Steven Enella

    Steven Enella, Long Time Friend
  • We know that we can never realize and truly identify with Damien’s death. We have no guide to let us feel your anguish and pain. Saying this, please believe we only want you to feel solace. How? Maybe through the wonderful things accomplished with your generosity in Damien’s name. We knew Damien- his everyday presence, his spirit of fun( the last time we saw him was at your birthday party). To us, he’s not just a name on a plaque or memorial. Damien was many things,a young man who enjoyed life, a child, yet a contemporary to you both through shared adult experiences,a godfather truly loving and interested in Aly’s life and the joys that she would share with him. As we mark the 6th year anniversary we want you to know that we remember your beloved son not as a 9/11 casualty, but as the fun,caring young man he became; knowing that he was loved and appreciated.
    All Our Love,
    Maeve and Brendan

    Maeve and Brendan Casey, Cousin
  • Wherever a beautiful soul has been…..there is a trail of beautiful memories.

    We will always remember.

    Dawn, Stranger
  • Damien, I heard the news today, September 26, 2009 that you were a victim of 9-11.
    I couldn’t believe it. Here I was, in search of you to say hi and see how you are doing because the last time we saw one another was the summer of 1990 in Wildwood, NJ where we were all in the same apartment complex. I believe you were about 10 guys and we were 3 guys. We all clicked and called our group the CAN-AM connection (Canadian-American).
    Though, you were the only one that offered your Dad’s guest house in Long Island for us to come and visit you in New York and you only knew us two weeks.
    You are the best, Damian, so very sad that you are not here.
    I hope to meet you one day agian…..in Paradise !

    Mr. & Mrs. Vaccacio, you have a great son, you did an EXCELLENT job in raising your child. My DEEPEST Condolences to the both of you.

    Marco Ciccocioppo, Friend
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