1956 – 2021
By Tony Cimo
The curtain has drawn.
The stage lights have gone out.
The house lights have come on.
Our protagonist and lead actor, Joseph Alan Cimo aka Jay Cimo has exited, stage right, to the great dressing room in the sky.
In his final act, it took a great and mighty force of nature, a tree worthy of the Titans, to extinguish his light. His life was a performance for the ages, worthy of every award and plaudit ever conceived of.
To me, Jay was an amalgamation of Peter Pan and Don Quixote, with a splash of Bert the Chimney Sweep. He was drawn from any number of Shakespearean characters (Puck, Bottom, more than my lesser knowledge will allow reciting). He was Punchinella and the Mad Hatter. He channeled Zero Mostel, Fredrico Fellini, Emmet Kelley, Doug Henning, and Leonardo da Vinci. He was an actor, director, writer, theater impresario, artist, teacher, student, magician, juggler, fire eater, puppet-maker, cook, caretaker, landscaper, handyman, cyclist, outdoorsman and so much more. He inspired the best in us, in our creative pursuits and our desire for knowledge.
I mourn for those that never had a chance to meet him, or those whose presence may be a distant memory. I mourn for my family, his friends, and his community. I mourn for myself and my wife and my children, who he loved and who loved “Unka Jay” with all of their little beings. I mourn for any that shared a breath, a word, or a drink with him, that they will no longer be able to do so in our little corner of the universe.
But I am thankful for every moment that Jay existed on this planet and in our lives. I am thankful for everyone he helped or who helped him. I am thankful that I had such a fun, intelligent, creative, and loving older brother. And I am thankful for all of the children that got to experience his wonderful warmth as I and my siblings did. For Jay above all loved and cherished children. He loved their lightness, their sense of adventure, and playfulness. And he was always willing to put aside the seriousness of adulthood to pull a coin from an ear, balance a hat on his nose, or toss a kid onto the couch.
Jay’s flame will burn bright in the hearts of many – his family, his friends his community, and all of those who crossed paths with him. All that can call him son, brother, uncle, friend, co-star, collaborator, co-worker, co-conspirator, lover, should rejoice in the fact that they were able to share the stage of life with him.
Dear Jay, go on with love, bravado, and humor. We, your audience, will keep the applause going until they kick us out of this theater of being.
Photos by Stephanie Mohan Creative Portraiture