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FLEXO Magazine : November 2011
FTA TODAY A Grandson’s Remembrance of FTA Hall of Fame Member Henry Francis (Henny) Salmaggi (1923-2011) Paying Respect to a Great Man By Colin Salmaggi The life of Henry Salmaggi was unlike any other. He was a successful and distinguished man who was often recognized for his exceptional character, accom- plishments, dedication to family and wonderful sense of humor.All of these attributes allowed him to persevere through even the most trying of times and perilous of circumstances. My grandfather ’s childhood was highlighted by the various prominent figures that would fre- quently visit his home at 1 Quentin Rd. , Brooklyn, NY. In fact, his namesake was his godfather, the world-renowned Italian tenor Enrico Caruso. Henry adored his family, especially his brothers and sisters. He’d smile as he pointed to each face and said, “Look how beautiful [he or she] is,” and he was right. And for that, they had to thank their parents, the magnificent impresario Mae- stro Alfredo Salmaggi and his enchanting and nurturing wife Elvira Canzano. Henry loved to be in the limelight and he loved to entertain. He, much like his father, was a charming character, larger than life, who encompassed a sense of style and magnetism that would draw the attention of all those within earshot. But there were a few times when he would speak with a measure of reservation in his voice. These rare occurrences were the only indication of a painful past he chose to suppress. My grandfather often spoke of the pride he and his six brothers shared for having served their country in World War II. Henry served in the Army and survived the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France. He eventually led his unit to assist in the liberation of concentration camps. He was awarded two Purple Hearts for wounds received while in combat and the Bronze Star for his heroic actions and achievements. He managed to overcome the grief by rejoicing in the beauty of life just as we all must do now. I have the utmost admiration and esteem for my grandfather, just as I’m sure you all do as well. Throughout the course of his life, he empowered others to appreciate the many splendors of this world. He was one of the most observant and meticulous men I’ve ever known. For example, he could remember a gentleman’s last name, ethnicity, creed and profession, dating back 50 years prior. Naturally, even his aptitude for recall had its limits; but it was in those times that he could rely on his greatest friend, loving companion and beautiful wife, my grandma, Myra Parilla. There were several occasions when he would suddenly draw a blank, in the midst of a story, it was then that he would call out, “Hey My, what was that guy ’s name?” She would reply from the other room, “Which guy was that Henny?” From childhood to this very day, my grandfather personifies the concept of a fulfilling and meaningful life. He has provided a means for all of us to make a connection to our heritage by amassing a cache of newspaper articles, records, pamphlets and letters, along with a multitude of other artifacts. Most of my fondest memories of grandpa occurred in a single room in their house in New Hyde Park, NY. After one of grandma’s delectable feasts, grandpa would say to me, “Okay kid, come upstairs. I want to show you something.” Then we’d spend hours in his office, where he would give me www.flexography.org nOveMBeR 2011 FLEXO 25 FLX_November11.indd 25 11/8/11 3:53 PM