This memorial website was created by Christa Puccio-Gallo in memory of the Love of my life, Steve Gallo 57 years old , born on May 25, 1962 and passed away on August 24, 2019. We will remember him forever. This is Steve singing in the shower, no idea I was taping him. He was, and always will be the Love of my life. Thank you, honey for the best 33 years a woman can ever hope for.  He touched, and was loved by so many. Please share a story, or send him a note. Together we will always keep him alive in all our hearts.
Posted by Noelle G on August 24, 2022
Can't believe it has been 3 years today. Miss you everyday Uncle Steve, but missing you a little extra today. Love you so very much. ❤ Noelle and Nettie
Posted by Joseph Kopfensteinet on August 24, 2022
My friend, I can't believe it's been three years! Holy shit, times flies. I miss you every day! My only saving grace is the memories that we made over the years. I defer to them when I start getting sad. Whether it was the vacations we shared, the golf matches we had, the softball games we played, going out for a beer or just talking on the phone shooting the shit! Hit 'em straight buddy and rest in peace!
Posted by Lou DeGuardia-Maietta on August 24, 2022
We miss you Steve. Please continue to watch over Christa and your family. Rip.
Love always,
Lynne, Lj, briana and Millie
Posted by Marco Grieco on August 24, 2022
It is now 44 years since I met Steve. He became the brother I never had, the Godfather to my daughter and a cherished member of my family. The last three years have been tough but, all those years gave me an abundance of memories that I can look back on and smile.

Miss you my brother!
Posted by Joy Xhudo on August 24, 2022
I can’t believe that it’s been 3 years since you left us.
A lot has happened and I’m sure you’ve been watching it all! Gianni just turned 6! You would have loved all the candy in the piñata this year! And he learned how to swim!! You would be so proud of him! Your corner of the pool is empty, no one took your spot don’t worry.
Mikey will be 12 soon and he’s in his 2nd year of football! Wish you can come watch him play. Adriana is starting 5th grade and she’s like a little teenager now! Always on the phone with her friends!
And Sonny is pensioning out! Exactly 1 year ago today on your last anniversary was his accident which we all know you were a part of somehow! Thank you for watching all of us from above!!! We miss and love you Uncle Ruff! ✨❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Posted by Linda DeSimone on August 24, 2022
Can’t believe it’s three years. Although we never got to know you as well as we would have liked, we want you to sleep in peace knowing that there are so many good family members and friends looking after your love. Christa misses you like crazy, but we all watch over her as you do from heaven ❤️RIP Steve ❤️
Posted by Patrick Byrne on August 24, 2022
Steven goes away to college in Oneonta Friday. “I wish uncle Steve was here, I know he’d be proud” was what he said to me yesterday, made me cry.
Posted by Patrick Byrne on August 24, 2022
3 years and I still expect to get a text from you about who’s wearing open toed shoes on the Five! Rest In Peace my friend, you’re never forgotten and always missed.
Posted by Bob Simone on August 24, 2022
Miss you tremendously my man,love you so many memories 
Posted by Maria Arena on August 24, 2022
Three years or three will be missed and never forgotten! Until we meet again, be our angel and watch over all of our loved ones! XOX
Posted by Terri DiLemme on August 23, 2022
Unseen, unheard, but always near and dear. Still loved and missed by so many❤️❤️
Posted by Dina Puccio-D'Amico on August 23, 2022
It’s hard to believe 3 years have past since you left us. Christa misses you every day. I hope seeing some of these best memories will help her during this difficult day.

You thought it was important to show Salvatore what you did for a living. So Christa and I took Salvatore to visit you at work. I uploaded the pictures from that summer evening 15 years ago. You were so proud to have him there. Salvatore might not remember that night, but he loves and misses his Uncle Steve as do we all. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Posted by Dominick Nieves on May 27, 2022
It’s been almost three years since your gone and it’s still hard to grasp. So many laughs and good times that I will never forget. Thanks for having me at holiday celebrations with your family and Christa’s as well. Thank you for treating my family members like royalty. I greatly appreciated the words of wisdom you would impart to my son from time to time. Thanks for being such a great friend!
Posted by Nicole Satriale on May 25, 2022
Happy birthday in heaven! We think about you everyday. You are missed and loved.
Thank you for always being there for my family. You may be gone but never forgotten.
Posted by Christopher Satriale on May 25, 2022
Happy Birthday Uncle Steve❤️ Thank you for all you did for my family. Your memory lives on with all the lives you touched and you motivate me everyday to be a better person. We all keep a part of you forever in our hearts.
Posted by Matthew Satriale on May 25, 2022
Happy birthday Uncle Steve. I miss you more than you know. I finished my first year of college and I know you are the only reason why I passed my writing class. Love you and miss you lots.
Posted by Nicholas Satriale on May 25, 2022
Happy birthday Uncle Steve. I graduated this year and could not have done it without your help. I always thought of you when I was up late struggling to finish an essay knowing you would give me the extra motivation I needed to finish. Thank you for always looking over me.
Posted by Lynne Marietta on May 25, 2022
Happy Birthday Steve
You are missed by many but mostly by your love Christa. Keep shinning down upon her.Heaven has been blessed with an Angel and I was blessed to have known you .

Posted by ELISABETTA TWOMEY on May 25, 2022
Thinking of you today, Your Birthday. You are so missed. LOVE YOU!
Posted by Noelle G on May 25, 2022
Happy Birthday Uncle Steve! Heading towards my first graduation without you to celebrate with, but you've been cheering me on, supporting me, and inspiring me the whole way in my heart. I love you and miss you so very much. ❤❤
Posted by Nicole Arena on May 25, 2022
Hey Uncle Big,

Today you turn 60 in Heaven. I just want to thank you and tell you how grateful I am for the time I had with you on earth but also for the ways you have looked out for me while up in Heaven. I know you’re with me in all my struggles and I know you’re with me celebrating all my joyous moments. It’s hitting me different not having you this year, because I realize it will be hard knowing any day now my daughter will be born and she won’t get the chance to meet you in person and create so many memories with you like I have. But I truly believe in my heart that you have already been protecting her, and will continue to do so after she’s born. I can’t wait to tell her my favorite stories about you and the love shared between you and Aunt Christa. You always had a way with words and writing so I wanted to share this with you. I hope you like it.
Happy Birthday, I miss you.

Sometimes I talk to you,
even though I can’t reach you

Try to imagine your laugh
when it hurts to miss you

Wish I could go back,
tell my old self that

You don’t have the time to not make time,
It goes fast

And I was living like you’d live forever
And it took losing you to learn to love better

To be the daughter, who comes home more often
Who holds onto a goodbye hug a little longer
To be the best friend, who promised to check in
And the kind of sister my brother always needed
Who takes time to call even just to say hey,

Cause you loved me that way.

I still remember your big embrace
now can only hold you in a picture frame

I still see you waving
with the biggest smile

we would find ourselves a seat
and chat life for a while

And you were living like you wouldn’t live forever
You knew the little things in life are what mattered

like taking the time to write someone a letter,
or pulling out a mic and singing Frank Sinatra
You drank the good stuff even just for poolsides
Had such a love for musicals you just couldn’t hide

I only hope to live life even half like that
I hope to live my life filling those gaps

You held nothing back, gave everything

You loved me that way.
Posted by Joy Xhudo on May 25, 2022
Happy Birthday in Heaven Uncle Steve!! ♥️
We miss you so much!!! Please keep watching over us until we see you again!! ♥️♥️♥️
Posted by Maria Arena on May 25, 2022
Another birthday, another year you are missed! Happy Heavenly Birthday, Steve. Know you are always in our thoughts and prayers! XOX Maria
Posted by Christa Puccio-Gallo on August 28, 2021
I received a call yesterday, from yet another person from Steve’s Childhood who unfortunately just heard of Steve’s passing. Here it is 2 years later and I’m still getting calls of random people who Steve touched in that special way he had about him. This call was from Doug Miller, a neighbor from Rumsey Ave, that knew Steve since the age of 10. I get sad and emotional, but it also brings a smile to my face to hear how much he was loved and more importantly remembered. I love hearing the stories, and seeing pictures of their memories together. I already know how special he was, but it amazes me to get these calls and realize how much he meant to SO MANY lives he touched. Memories that people will always have of him. This is exactly why I created this page. I want everyone who he’s touched to share such memories. Seeing pictures, reading stories of how he touched so many lives is what makes me smile. So Thank you Doug, it really meant a lot to me that you took the time to pick up the phone and call me, and share the stories and pictures you had. Here are some of the memories he holds close to his heart, so now I can hold them close to mine.

“ Will never forget my friend Steve all the basketball wiffle ball and touch football we played together the good humor truck getting ice cream playing hide and go seek great times on rumsey ave rest in peace my friend”

I have also posted the picture he sent of him with Steve and his cousin John. Also the pictures of the year book of Doug’s, that Steve wrote in. You can find those in the Gallery section of this memorial page.

Thank you again, Doug
Posted by Patrick Byrne on August 25, 2021
Being the two year anniversary of losing our friend it got me thinking about some of the things he used to do that made him so unforgettable. Steve was notorious for coming over to my house and sitting in my recliner. He would promptly tune the TV to whichever of his shows was on, (Jeopardy, Fox News etc). After a few minutes it was off to the freezer for a frozen french bread pizza…..which always went down better with a glass of single malt scotch. Once the food was gone my dog Lola would jump on his lap and he’d drift off into his nap (of which I’m posting a picture). When he would wake up it was time for the final ritual before leaving, his inspection of my closet to determine which articles of clothing I didn’t need and would be much better off in his collection of unworn clothing kept in his mother’s basement.
With anyone else one might find these things annoying but not with Steve. He was such a great guy and so affable that it was a welcome occurrence and just one of the thousand things I miss about him.
Posted by Nicole Arena on August 24, 2021
Hey Big,

I write to you all the time in my own journal but because it’s the 2nd year anniversary of your passing, I felt it deserved to be in a special spot surrounded by other letters of love.

First off, I wanted to thank you again for coming to me in a dream a few months ago. I told Aunt Christa about it. I told her how I was struggling and felt like you somehow knew it enough to check on me. I told her how you and I laughed and you offered advice and told me to tell her you said hi. You’re still looking out for me even if it’s not in a physical presence.

Second, I’ve been thinking a lot about one of the newest people in my life and a part of me feels like you had a part in sending him my way. I talk about you to him all the time and how you guys are so similar in so many ways. I wish you could have met each other in person. I already know he would have been in the corner lounge chair with you, people watching at family parties until the sun whipped you out enough to fall asleep. 

I miss you so much. I hope Grandma & Grandpa, and your mom are with you. Continue to watch over us especially Aunt Christa.

See you in the next life. Love you♥️
Love Little Little
Posted by Nicoll Weiss on August 24, 2021

We miss you everyday! Every time Jayden and I see a white butterfly and I ask him who he thinks it is he says Steve! We know you are watching over all of us and are around us all the time. You may not be with us physically we know you are with us everyday in one way or the other!

I still remember the time we were on the vacation in the sun, we were hanging on the balcony and you showed me on your phone pictures of Christa when you two were young! It was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. You two truly had a love that most people will never have!

Miss you dearly!

Posted by Frank Arena on August 24, 2021
Hey My Brother!
I dearly miss our intellectual banter, and the
times we shared a private joke. Time flies like the wind these days and I find myself thinking of you when my mind wanders and
reflects upon the simple things that life has to offer. Your passing has had a significant impact on my life, and the ones who were a treasure to you. I only hope that the pain of
of losing you will strengthen my appreciation for life and how important my
Family means to me. We will see each other
again, but not yet. Rest easy. Love you!
Posted by Joseph Kopfensteinet on August 24, 2021
Unbelievable that it’s been two years! It’s all still a blur! I will forever treasure our softball games, golf matches, Yankee conversations and endless talks about life! You are constantly in my dreams and forever in my thoughts and prayers. I was trying to think of something poignant to write and thought a Morgan Freeman line summed it up best: ‘I think I just miss my friend’! Rest well, buddy!
Posted by Justine Golfo on August 24, 2021
My best memories of Steve is at all the parties we had or went to . Steve’s presence was always known, he was always the biggest guy in the room always with a smile on his face. Steve asked me every time he saw me no matter when it was how my parents were. I can always count on Steve to pick me up over his shoulder with a single swoop if I had a little too much to drink during a party when I was going through one of my darkest times. Puccio Family being lifelong family friends made Steve just as big a part of that. May he Rest In Peace and until we meet again for a party in the big blue sky ! Xoxo
Posted by Dina Puccio-D'Amico on August 24, 2021
Hard to believe it’s been 2 years! I know that our relationship had its peaks and valleys. I was happy that we were finally at a good point. People always hate to be asked to drive someone to the airport, help them move, etc You were always the first to volunteer, what a true sign that was! I miss the things we never got to say and do. 
Know that I will always be here to help support Christa in every and any way she needs. ♥️♥️♥️♥️
Posted by ANNETTE GRIECO on August 24, 2021
There is not a day that passes that you are not in my thoughts and prayers.  We shared so many happy moments together as well as hard times...I will always be grateful for the friend you have always been to Marco, the Godfather you were to Noelle, and the writing mentor to Gino. I miss our talks on my porch.
I love you my dear friend
Posted by Maria Arena on August 24, 2021
They always say when you make plans, God laughs. I know we will make more memories one day but I truly miss the ones we never got to. There should have been many more weekends in Westerly, trips to the Caribbean, cruises to exotic places, retiring in Naples, watching the Yankees and Giants, and of course, just hanging out poolside and playing games. Not to mention, no one refills my glass as fast as you! I miss you and all the laughs we didn't get to have, but I know eventually we will. XOX (PS...I know you're up there editing my tribute. LOL)
Posted by Jeff Mann on August 24, 2021
Today is a difficult day for a lot of us. August 24th is the day that you want to be with your mom and your dad. I only got to know you for a short period of time - about two years. However, in that short time I got to see what a great person you were. You had a great sense of humor, you had a magnificent understanding of the English language and your recognition of sports statistics and trivia was tremendous … I feel that your best quality is caring for the well being and safety for the people closest to you. I got to see that first hand by working with Christa. You were always making sure she was safe when traveling when ever we went into somewhat questionable neighborhoods. Making sure she knew about any pending bad weather, traffic or even if it was getting dark outside- that she was accompanied to her car. Even if it was right in front of her office in Tarrytown. 
Steve, thank you for always making me feel comfortable and welcomed in your presence. I will always appreciate our time spent together and remember all the funny moments, conversations and good times we shared!! -
I hope you are getting to use Titleist Pro V1’s for free playing golf in heaven.
God bless!!!
Posted by Sonny Xhudo on August 24, 2021
Hey Steve O
I can’t believe it’s already two years . I can still see you sitting on your chair by the pool sipping on a drink . I was always happy you enjoyed coming over and relaxing with us . We miss you so much .
Posted by Luke McLaughlin on August 24, 2021
I was never fortunate enough to meet Steve but I feel like I know him from all the amazing stories that I have heard from his loved ones/friends. The majority coming from a person very near and dear to me, his beloved wife, Christa Puccio-Gallo. I wish I could have been able to experience some of the stories I have heard regarding the legendary Sargent Gallo but his legacy will live on through his wife and loved ones forever. May he continue to watch over and show signs of his guiding presence to all those who miss him dearly. Rest In Peace.
Posted by Marco Grieco on August 24, 2021
Today is two years since the passing of my brother Steve. (We all know he was not my real brother but as close as anyone has ever come to being my brother). I miss him but he will never be out of my life.
Posted by Noelle G on August 24, 2021
I love and miss you everyday. You're always in my heart and I am better because I knew you. Thank you for the endless support you showed me. Still trying to make you proud, hope it's working ❤
Posted by Mikey Xhudo on August 24, 2021
I miss you and love you soooo much
You always helped me with math and baseball
I started football this year. I wish you where here to watch me
Love, Mikey Gaga❤️
Posted by Linda DeSimone on August 24, 2021
"I wish I got to know you better because I know I missed out”
Posted by Lau M on August 24, 2021
You still appear as this beautiful butterfly, who appears whenever I am wondering about… on my walks and thinking deep thoughts, you appear, you lighten the load, and you bring light to everything still, and a smile appears in me and this must be you. You are dearly missed, and we love you all around us now.
Posted by Bob Simone on August 24, 2021
I miss you everyday my Brother- so MANY memories filled with fun and Laughter- Love you until we meet again- Rob
Posted by Patrick Byrne on August 24, 2021
Two years since you passed and I still pick up the phone to call you when something reminds me of you. The boys still talk about you all the time and miss you. Love you, buddy.
Posted by Patrick Byrne on May 29, 2021
It’s still so hard to believe that you’re gone, buddy. Losing you was like losing a close family member because you were always there. There to do a favor. There to remind me of someone’s birthday (mostly yours) and just THERE. I’m glad we had you as long as we did but it wasn’t nearly long enough. Rest In Peace my friend.
Posted by Dina Puccio-D'Amico on May 25, 2021
Those we love don’t go away. 
They walk beside us every day.
Unseen, unheard but always near.
Still loved, still missed and always dear.

I pray that today, in honor of your birthday, you send signs to Christa that you are always with her! ❌⭕️❌⭕️
Posted by Christa Puccio-Gallo on May 25, 2021
Happy 59th Birthday my Love. I’m spending your special day remembering the 33 years of this day with you. The pictures and videos just aren’t enough. I just wish for some kind of sign from you, let me know you’re ok, you’re happy, you’re with our family members, all celebrating you in the way you deserve. That would give me some peace to get through today. You are so missed, I hope I’m making you proud, I promise to always keep your memory alive, I just wish I couldn’t kept you alive down here with the so many people that miss you so much. The support I have gotten from so many, you’d be happy about. You always knew how to chose the right and best people in your life. Those same people have been very helpful for me to deal with my biggest loss. Happy Birthday, I will love you forever, till I’m in your arms again.
Posted by Christa Puccio-Gallo on December 31, 2020
September 13, 2019

Received this from Steve’s Dentist, Joe. Had to share.

Christa, yes I was at the Wake, but I did not speak to anyone.
I couldn’t.
I saw you there, surrounded by people trying to console you. I knelt by Steve, held his arm, said a prayer, cried, and left.
I know of no words that are good enough to say to you that can even begin to help you with your pain.
Steve was very special to me, I’m sure that everyone else felt the same way.
I met Steve over thirty years ago and we bonded instantly, and stayed that way. He was, is, a very special person.
Every year he reached out to me for my birthday, Fathers’ Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
EVERY year.
About a year ago, on no special occasion, he sent a two page email to my children telling them what a special, loving father that they have. It was supposed to be secret, but my daughter felt that it was so beautiful that she had to show me. That was Steve. I loved him.
My heart breaks for you, I know how much he loved you.
Everyone who knew him carries a piece of Steve in them, I will carry mine for as long as I live.
Posted by Christa Puccio-Gallo on December 31, 2020
Aruba 2018
Shared by Stacy Martin on October 13, 2019

My husband Vic & I met this couple last year in Aruba. We hit it off very quickly and spent the rest of our vacation with them. You could see how much they love each other that it was just beautiful to watch them be together. Only knowing Steve for a very short time, was an amazing experience. He was a gentle giant with a big heart and a true soul! He was funny and sincere, and the kind of person you’d want in your life! We will always remember this trip and cherish the time we spent with them, it was an honor meeting Steve and he will be missed and never forgotten.
Posted by Christa Puccio-Gallo on December 31, 2020
Uncle Ruff!!! ❤️
Shared by Joy Xhudo on October 13, 2019

Dear Uncle Ruff,

We miss you more then you know....your laugh, your big hugs, your stroll into the family room, you sleeping over watching movies with us and playing games! We haven’t been able to watch the Greatest Showman since you left us because we know how much you loved it and loved watching it with us. Mikey says it all the time how you would always sing the songs with him...we play ‘1 million dreams’ a lot and think of you! ❤️ Gianni says your name all the time, especially when a airplane passes in the sky. ✈️ He points up and says hi uncle Steve...he thinks your coming back soon, how we all wish that was true, he even asked us last night if you were going to be at the party. 
Today is Adriana’s 7th Birthday!!! I can’t believe your not here to share it with her.. I know you would have sent the 1st bday text then FaceTime with Atta, or you would have already been here because you probably would have slept over! Your Goddaughter will always remember you and all the things you did for her! I know you are watching over her and protecting her now. ❤️
Mom and Dad miss your big laugh and stories, hanging by the pool will never be the same but we will always have your special spot in the corner! Mom misses your funny texts you would send misses talking about sports, and the good deals at shoprite...sometimes he wants to text you to tell you.
Thanks for all the great memories we have been so lucky to share with sucks that you were taken away from us this soon!
Most of all Thank you for taking such great care of our have always made her the happiest woman in the whole world! She loves you heart and soul here and now have made her so strong and you live on in all of us Forever!!!
Until we meet again, we love you Uncle Ruff forever!! ❤️
Posted by Christa Puccio-Gallo on December 31, 2020
A Passion for Compassion
Shared by Yvonne DeGuardia on October 13, 2019

My fondest memory of Steve is the true compassion he always afforded us. My family and I have traveled to Yonkers on countless occasions. It's a three hour trip sometimes grueling, sometimes not. After all the greetings, kisses, handshakes, and the "thanks-for-comings" Steve would always seek me out in some little corner and ask me how my trip truly was. He always seemed genuinely interested and concerned for our well being. He always took the time to really find out how I felt on a particular day. It's that kind of compassion and understanding that is truly rare. It was the little things that Steve thought about that most people don't.
One afternoon at a Christmas party at Rosary Hill the singer that had just finished the song "Feliz Navidad in Spanish said "...and now for the 'NORMAL' way!" and continued to sing the English chorus. While being of Hispanic descent and fluent in Spanish I just chuckled. Most people would not notice a miscue as such that. Steve did. He later approached me and put his arm around me and said "I think you're normal!" We both laughed but that memory and the comfort I felt at that moment will always be with me as he was the only one in the room that noticed the indiscretion.
We truly miss you Steve. -Yvonne, Bill and Dante.
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Noelle G on August 24, 2022
Can't believe it has been 3 years today. Miss you everyday Uncle Steve, but missing you a little extra today. Love you so very much. ❤ Noelle and Nettie
Posted by Joseph Kopfensteinet on August 24, 2022
My friend, I can't believe it's been three years! Holy shit, times flies. I miss you every day! My only saving grace is the memories that we made over the years. I defer to them when I start getting sad. Whether it was the vacations we shared, the golf matches we had, the softball games we played, going out for a beer or just talking on the phone shooting the shit! Hit 'em straight buddy and rest in peace!
Posted by Lou DeGuardia-Maietta on August 24, 2022
We miss you Steve. Please continue to watch over Christa and your family. Rip.
Love always,
Lynne, Lj, briana and Millie
his Life

I Remember

I’d like to Thank everyone for all the love, and support given to me through this, my most difficult, and heartbreaking time of my life. 

Steve always told me if anything ever happened to him, “look on my computer, you will find something I’d like everyone to read”. I had to promise not to look for it prior. I kept my promise. Not a word of this was changed, These are his last words for all to read. He was, is, and will always be the love of my life.
Christa Puccio-Gallo 

     In Loving Memory of Steve Gallo

I remember the day I brought home my gold detective's badge to show my dad.  He had been sick for quite a while at that point in 2002, but as I held the badge in his sight line and he looked up from his hospital bed planted square in the middle of our living room, his eyes lit up and his magnetic smile melted me one more time. He had been so proud of his time as a cop in the NYPD, and he seemed to once again be telling me that I had achieved something he was proud of, that he was happy because his son was happy. To this day, I take great pride when I say that "my father is the only person in the world I've ever respected one hundred percent, without exception." It's not because he was perfect or because he demanded that I respect him, but because he, for me, was the very embodiment of unconditional love.  He knew I was flawed and he knew some of my decisions were terrible, like when I decided to "become" a bouncer in a local bar a couple months after graduating from the Ivy League university he paid for.  Wow, and I've been telling people for years not to end sentences with prepositions. But he had an indescribable way of comforting me even when I had no clue.  He wasn't big in stature, he wasn't college-educated after working during the depression to help support his family. He was, though, the most erudite, wise and just plain smart man when it came to educating me. I have  a million tiny memories of him, but rarely, if ever, share them with anyone.  In my top five, two words that resonate with me now more than ever--when I lose my temper like Sonny Corleone or when I feel the urge to break down because there's just too much on my plate. "Stay cool" he would say, as he dropped me off at the train station for my trip to Columbia the morning of a big exam. Thisman who had never even taken a college exam or walked on a college campus, but knew what I was feeling.  "Stay cool" would have meant absolutely nothing coming from anyone else.  From him, it was the voice of God. A voice that has echoed in my brain every day of my life.

It's been more than a decade since my father left this world.  The word "died" doesn't really apply. "Left" seems so much more appropriate. Nobody can ever convince me that he's not here.    The police escort he received from NYPD, his old department, Yonkers PD and Bronxville PD was befitting of a dignitary. And still not enough for the best man I ever knew. The indelible marks he made, the memories he created are vivid still.  I talk to him often, usually in my most contemplative times, in my most needy times. "Hey Dad, can you believe this shit" I usually say, and I can "hear" the answer, I can hear the calmness take over.  I wonder what he would have thought of my life since he's gone, the mistakes I've made, the temper tantrums I've thrown, the way in which I've become so intolerant of selfish, stupid, annoying people who have no consideration for anyone but themselves.  I wonder if he would have approved of my relationships with others, if he would tell me to shut up once in a while and to stop trying to change things that are unchangeable. I wonder if he would say the way I've tried to take care of my mother and brother is admirable or me somehow searching for martyrdom.  Most of all, I wonder what he would have thought of how I've handled adversity in life.  He used to walk by my bedroom and hear James Taylor singing "Fire and Rain" and he would say, "What's up, that's your hurtin' song."   He just knew things.

I wonder if he knew I was talking to him on the day I had my heart attack. It was more than six years ago now, and his presence has remained.  Back then, I was the invincible, weight lifting, exercising, athletic, know-it-all who ate and drank like I was going to live forever.  If the outside didn't look too bad, I thought, maybe the inside would follow suit. Life doesn't work so logically sometimes.  So many doctors and lawyers and tests and ejection fractions and statistics and days later, I guess I know that.  I wonder, too, if he was holding me up a few days ago when I just wanted the doctor to clean the wax from my ears and he told me about the big growth on my thyroid. "How old are you now Steve?" he asked. "Any family history of cancer or thyroid problems?" I snapped quickly, "No doc, why? Oh, wait,yes my brother had thyroid cancer." He told me about this "nodule." He may just as well have said "you have a month to live" because it felt, as I've told my friends, like he had just taken a step back and then kicked me in the balls as hard as he could.  I wonder if my dad saw the strength drain from my body.  Actually, I wonder if it were him holding me up. I wonder if he was steering when I drove my car home never blinking once and never noticing another vehicle on the road.  I wonder if he heard me say out loud, "How am I gonna deal with heart disease and cancer and everyone else's problems at the same time." I get so tired already.  Getting pale and losing my hair and thinning to the point of looking sickly wasn't in my plans right now. Or recently.  Damn, a week prior I was getting drunk and eating unhealthy food in Mexico.  I wonder if he knew all that.  I wonder.

The day I felt that sting from the doctor was 3/17/2015.  The day my surgeon, Dr. James Lee, called and told me that my thyroid cancer appeared to be contained and my lymph nodes appeared to be unaffected was 4/17/2015. That's one calendar month.  A blip on the screen, a virtual blink of an eye. But it may as well have been an eon or one of those epochs you read about in high school.  Life pretty much stood still for that time.  I was walking in quicksand, days were coming and going, but Iife was frozen.  It was another eye-opener.  A test for me.  A test of strength.  A time to reflect.

I have always been incredibly narrow-minded and unbending when it comes to people in my life "earning their stripes" and sort of "proving" to me that they are loyal, unwavering friends and loved ones.  I have been particularly unwilling to accept such loyalty and love from women.  I guess a fear of commitment has developed a callousness over the years that makes me believe a dedicated, "want-her-in-the-foxhole" lady is easy to come by.  Living at home as an adult with a doting mother is probably to blame for my myopic view of the worth of a good woman.  I guess I've tended to take things for granted.

I'm not sure how to describe Christa in those terms, and I'm not sure that any words I can find (yes, me, a self-proclaimed "wordsmith") would sufficiently or adequately do justice to her nearly lifelong, unconditional devotion to me.  I say that, not in an immodest or sexist way, but with a humbled sense of wonder because it has not always been an easy ride.  She has shown resilience, a true heart and a stubborn defense of me that is, to say the least, unique.  We met, and although the initial attraction was mutually physical, we became fast friends.  We both had other partners and we shared thoughts about those people, but I'm not sure that either of us realized the foundation that was being laid for what would become an unforeseeable future together.  Finding a woman who was a "real" friend was almost an anomaly in the early parts of my life. It's like that thought from Billy Crystal in "When Harry Met Sally"--men and women can't be friends if sex is on the table.

Through all the amazing tests of strength, arguments, high times and low, Christa was in her greatest glory, if you ask me, during the darkest days when my dad was failing.  She was as much a daughter to him as anyone could be, and was as much a confidante and aid to my mother as any man could ever ask.  She was there to drive, there to talk, there to cry and there to support.  I believe that the real measure of a person comes from the toughest, most alone times when people aren't watching. When I was working around the clock, it was excruciatingly painful to leave my father.  Would the attendants at the rehab center change him when he needed? Would the server in the lunch room put on his bib BEFORE the food arrived? Would anyone respond quickly when he was in pain? My life was consumed with his, and it was Christa who afforded me peace of mind when life kept me from him.  She was there when I couldn't be.

I saw that ridiculous brand of "heart" on display again --kicked up to an even higher notch --  in 2011 during the months before Joy Puccio left us. In retrospect, I think she was one of the most "real" and honest people I've known. I developed a special relationship with her.  She made me feel like family. I think it was holiday time 2006 when Christa called me, that cracking voice you never want to hear from a loved one, and told me that her mom had been diagnosed with lung cancer.  I remember where I was, and I remember feeling helpless. I also remember watching as Christa turned on the "caretaker engines" again.  She was the epitome of the loving daughter, from researcher to scheduler, to point person for all the doctors, to records keeper and information source for the family, Christa was it.  I tried to match the level of selflessness she had shown to me and my family so often, but when it comes to that, she is in a class by herself. It is part of what defines her.

The final days at Rosary Hill were sad, just as the final days always are.  I remember telling Christa that the loss of her mother would not compare with anything else she had ever felt.  That when my Uncle Tony died in 1995, I thought my world had ended.  Until my dad left me in 2003, and I realized what devastation really was.  I didn't want to make things tougher on Christa, I simply wanted her to know that an unspeakable sense of loss and sadness would, in years to come, be softened by indelible memories and life lessons she didn't even know came from her mother.  Although we will never feel "whole" again, the loss of our respective parents has definitely galvanized us. It's funny, neither of us even likes it when others speak of our parents.  The sanctity of their memory is above any words that human beings could possibly utter.  Tough to explain I guess.

Wow, just realized I haven't written in a while.   I guess too many trips to Shoprite and a million other stores will do that to a person.  Not to mention the endless parade of appointments to doctors, dentists, oral surgeons, etcetcetc!!  Anyway, no sense in telling the world your problems.  Very few people care.  Not because they don't love you, but because they are consumed with their own problems.  Logical, actually. Can't believe that, since I last wrote, Christa has had to deal with another devastating loss.  Sal Puccio, the man who seemed to have nine lives, passed away this past September.  His death was wholly unexpected. It was a shock, it left too many unanswered questions, and it was incredibly sad.  Simply put, he was "larger than life" for so many because he was such a character.  I wrote two tributes to him -- one when he passed and one for the first Christmas without him -- and everyone seemed to love them.  His memory made the writing come easily.  I hadn't realized the history that he and I had.  I thought, at times, that he was put on this earth to break my chops, and he was a master!! The good memories, though, trumped all that stuff.  He is missed. Christa, who struggles on so many days with the losses of both parents, feels it most.

I have been avoiding the subject of Mary Gallo since I began jotting my notes.  I see my mother as one who is nearly impossible to capture in words.  You sorta need to KNOW her to understand the real person. For me, she is completely unique in so many ways, and I cannot imagine the young couple she and my dad made.  Christa and I always mimic the great line from Rocky Balboa in "Rocky I" when he said of his relationship with Adrian, "We fill gaps. She's got gaps. I got gaps. Together we fill gaps." That is very true of Christa and me. There are tons of things that Christa masters, and many that I do, too. Most of those things are very different, though.    I think Michael and Mary Gallo must have been the ultimate gap fillers. In retrospect, they were like two pieces of a puzzle that fit together perfectly.  As a unit, I could not have possibly asked for better parents.

My mother has always been supremely proud that she graduated college (Hunter '51) at 20 years old. The premium placed on education from both my parents was very high.  From my earliest recollections, school was prioritized.  I became such a nerd that anything less than a perfect grade was disappointing. Mary was, and still is, a stickler for preciseness, regarding words or numbers.  If she owes you three cents, she will give you three pennies, not a nickel.  If there's a typographical error in a newspaper or store flyer, she will, without fail, point it out to me. On the day of my brother's high school graduation, and my leaving the ninth grade, I saw my algebra teacher in the crowd.  He was a grisled, hard-nosed man who never smiled.  He made his way over to me, smirked and told me that I scored "100" on my algebra regents.  It was a watershed moment in my relationship with my mother.  Why? Because for many years, she bragged about her grades, one of which was her algebra regents exam.  She got a "99."  In the last few decades, I'vereminded her of that a few times.

Mary Gallo lost two full-term babies.  My sister Maria, just 10 weeks old in 1956, basically had a hole in her heart and couldn't be saved.  Doctors knew that treatment for her would one day be almost "routine," but that treatment wasn't around in time to save her.  A year later, my parents lost a 10-pound baby boy during childbirth when the umbilical chord wrapped about his chest and suffocated him. My older brother, whose known only as "Baby" Gallo, would have softened the heartache left by beautiful Maria. Instead, another devastating, paralyzing loss.  I often try to imagine how my parents may have felt during those years.  I ask my friends with children to imagine, for one moment, both of those losses.  The rote answer from those friends? "I CAN'T imagine." Sometimes to take the emotion out of my mom's memory, I ask why she and my father never sued the doctor for malpractice.  Surely, they would have won millions! How can he not see an umbilical chord squeezing a baby's chest!! All my parents ever said was, "Back in those days, you really didn't think of things like that."

Since my father passed, now more than 13 years ago, my mother has completely relied upon me.  It has gotten exhausting so many times, and I've spent more time than I care to mention screaming at her out of frustration.  I talk to my father when I get out of hand or overwhelmed, and as usual, he calms me down. Yes, still. My mom is a very tough marker as they say, not easily impressed and very demanding in her own way. She has molded a lot of what I do, and more noticeably, HOW I do it.  If I had my choice of any mother who ever lived, I would still choose her.

Sat down this morning and re-read what I had written about Mary Gallo, the one and only. So glad I did. Mom died three weeks ago today, 11/25/2017, and it certainly does not feel "real" yet.  She had fought so hard to stay home, but the pain from the return of her lung cancer had gotten to be too much, and on Thursday, 11/16/2017, I called the ambulance.  It was the last time she would ever be at 60 Rumsey Avenue.  At least, in this lifetime.  Mary Gallo will ALWAYS be there -- it would be impossible to forget the indelible imprint she has made on that house, one that, in retrospect, SHE turned into a home.

I raced to NY Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital in time to beat the ambulance there, and my face was the first thing my mom saw when they opened those doors to wheel her into the ER.  She was scared and hurting, and I would have given ANYTHING to see her in full health again.  The adrenalin and overwhelming emotions that unconditional love can inspire are amazing, and easing her fears was all I wanted to do.  From that moment, I couldn't leave her.  A brief stay in the ER turned into 10 days in the 4th floor oncology unit, where she was put into a "hospice" room.  I was glued to her breaths and watching her chest expand every minute, thinking that she had the strongest heart ever to persevere as long as she did.  In retrospectnothing about my mother's heart should have surprised me--it was always "hall of fame" quality.  I remember bending over to her ear at bedside and saying, "I love you--you know you're the best mother God ever made right?" She seemed to hear, and NOW I know she does.  The staff at the hospital was exceptional, and I was so appreciative of the gentle, caring way they treated my mom. When someone so important is failing, that treatment is worth its weight in gold.  Hospice staff, all of whom complemented the work of nurses and nursing assistants, were kind as they tried to prepare us for the inevitable.  Having seen the last days of my dad and having experienced the demise of so many others close to me, I knew what was coming and still the absolute dread controlled me.  On 11/24/2017, a day after Christa and I had spent Thanksgiving in the hospital (we didn'twant to be anywhere else), I began to see Mary Gallo's breaths become increasingly moreshallow.  Multiple professionals had explained again the signs of imminent death -- from "rattle noises" to unexplained outbursts -- but the shallowness of breathing is always the truest indicator for me.  On 11/25/2017 at approximately 11:08 am, I saw the last of those breaths.  It happened as my face was inches from hers, and as I was repeatedly telling her she was the best.  A few seconds before my mom died, she seemed to respond to my comment, as her upper lip stretched across her teeth and a smile appeared. I'mnot the biggest believer in the "weird" stories about life and death, but I WAS THERE and I know what happened.  Maybe it was just a muscular spasm or tic, but her face was smiling. And then, she was gone. And life would never, ever be the same.  Shutting down the highways for her police escort, like my dad's, was fitting.  I wanted the whole world to know that they had lost a special one. A person, the likes of whom, would not pass my way again.   The most amazing lady I had ever known, the person who shaped me in so many ways, had left to go be a mother again to Maria and Baby, and to be Mrs. Michael Gallo forever.  I envy my dad and two other siblings now.  They are enjoying an overwhelmingly happy reunion of monumental proportions with the best there ever was.

                            Written by,
                       Stephen M. Gallo
            May 25, 1962 – August 24, 2019

Recent stories

Happy 60th Birthday Steve

Shared by Dina Puccio-D'Amico on May 25, 2022
I was looking through old photos and came across these. I remember this day when you showed him the police car. You were so proud to teach him. I am sorry you didn’t get the chance
to teach him more.  A lot of what he does today, he does with you in mind. He wants
you to be proud of the young man he has become. I’m sure you are.  

Happy birthday! We pray that you are surrounded by all the heavenly people you love in celebration. 


Our last time together…

Shared by Maria Bietsch on August 25, 2021
It feels like yesterday on a beautiful summer day, you and Christa stopped by to give us tickets to a concert for the girls to attend…we tried to persuade you to hang a little…you were on a mission to get to Sonny and Joy’s home…beat the traffic and enjoy the SUN!!! 

I just couldn’t believe the news I was hearing a few weeks later…hearts were broken…time stood still!!! 

In our hearts forever…heaven gained another angel…love you Christa and know you must live each day to the fullest in honor of him!!! Make memories and continue to keep him alive in our hearts!

There’s Steve!!

Shared by Adam Weiss on August 24, 2021
My favorite story of Steve will always be the vacation in the sun where we were hanging in the pool all day….steve goes to take a nap on a hammock somewhere…..everyone meets up for dinner later but Steve wasn’t there… a few people go look around the hammock but he was not there.  We were all wondering where the hell is Steve.  Then as we are a having drinks before dinner someone says….look up there’s some naked guy walking around in a room…..and someone yells…we found Steve!   The best! Tonight it’s Steve’s way…. Scotch for everyone! Miss you SteveO!