if you felt a disturbance in the Force

it was because one of our friends, Dino Scoppettone passed away last night.

in a very weird moment, i prayed for dino in the middle of the night. every night before i go to sleep i pray. but for some reason last night i forgot to include him. it was late, so technically he was already gone, but i didnt know that. so when i had been asleep for a few minutes something got into my head and said, i think you forgot to pray for dino. so i did.

this morning the Nexus email backchannel was circulating the emails that he had lost his fight to Sarcoma Cancer found in his liver and kidney.

because im an optimist, i want to believe that last night i was woken up when dino was at the pearly gates and st. peter said, hmmmm scoppettone, why does that name sound familiar? and dino said, i worked at EA sports? and dino said, no, no. and dino said, i went to UC Santa Barbara? and st. peter said, hmmmm, what else? and dino said i wrote at the Daily Nexus? and st. peter picked up the phone and called me in my sleep and said, can you vouch for one dino scoppettone? which is when i was glad to say – heck yeah st. peter!

Dino’s dad wrote this last night:

My son, Dino passed away this evening a little after 8PM. My heart hurts to say it and I know yours hurts to hear it. But this was Dino’s Journey. Over the months, on those nights when I thought about losing him, I stayed away from it by insisting on focusing on the present. For most of my life, I’ve been something of a rehearsed man, often planning things months in advance. No more. I told myself that I will know what to say if this day ever comes, and now this day is here.

My son was a beautiful man who belonged to all who knew him. No loner was he, but rather a blend of everyone he met and loved, interwoven with his buddies and their children and their parents and his workmates. Though he didn’t raise a family of his own, he belonged to many families, and over the past weeks and months, we’ve had the privilege to meet them, all wonderful people.

When I finished a novel some years ago, he read it, and re-read it, and re-read it again, each time adding a missing comma or suggesting another way to punch up a phrase. And each time I trusted him. He and I spoke the same language.

When it came time for him to move on tonight, his mother, Mary was rubbing his hair, and around his bed, everyone touched him gently; my wife, MiMi; my son, Nick with his fiance, Amber; Dean’s stepbrother, Chris and his girl Virginia; and his good friend, Andrew McGraw. Moments after he passed, Carlos arrived, as well as Dino’s special friend, Andi who had flown from Seattle.

Over the months, as we saw all the responses to his blogs, it became apparent that there were many people we had never met. Can I ask a favor of all of you? We really need to touch you, whether truly hand in hand or by e-mail. Here’s my e-mail address: dsco7545@comcast.net. If you knew my son or read his blog, would you e-mail me and tell me your thoughts? This journey of the last three months wasn’t done alone, it was done with all of you.

I will let you know of the funeral arrangements as soon as I know. For sure, the gathering will be in Santa Cruz. Hold us in your hearts. We love you all. And my boy continues on the grandest journey of them all.

when i was sports editor of the nexus, dino wrote about soccer (i believe) for me. always friendly, always boisterous. definitely a part of the team. this news makes me pretty sad because there was something about the nexus that made me think we were all indestructible. the truth of the matter, sadly, is we’re all mortal and we never know when this escalator to everywhere is gonna be over.

so kiss the girl you have a crush on, eat all your gelato, and hug yr friends extra hard.

glad to know youre in the good place, dino. you deserve it.

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