A gathering of family and friends said farewell to Don D’Amato Saturday afternoon, each laying single carnations beside the urn bearing his ashes at what is now Warwick Historic Cemetery 163.
But D’Amato won’t be forgotten, for even in his death, another book he co-authored is about to be published.
“His work is still going on day by day,” Henry Brown told the group, following readings from the Bible by the Rev. Dana Reardon, pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
Brown, who Mayor Scott Avedisian recently named City Historian to succeed D’Amato, disclosed that he and D’Amato had been working on a book about Warwick railroads. He said the history is 99 percent complete and copies of the book would be available soon.
Brown told how D’Amato had taught in Warwick schools and how, after retirement, he started writing a column, “Warwick Historic Homes,” for the Warwick Beacon. He went on to write for a number of newspapers and author many books.
Brown brought along the book D’Amato did for the city’s 350th anniversary in 1992. He told how D’Amato had written a detailed and voluminous account, only to be told by the publisher that historic picture books were the fashion and he would do better condensing the details and adding drawings and photographs. D’Amato found a compromise. The work traced the city’s history, from pre-colonial times.
Brown called D’Amato a “wonderful friend” and a “brilliant teacher.” He also offered a glimpse into D’Amato’s private life, recalling that, whenever he visited Don, he found a bouquet of flowers for his wife and love, Jeanne.
Pastor Reardon, who officiated at a memorial service shortly after his death on June 15, observed that the internment ceremony, coming as it did weeks later, provided another opportunity for those present to reflect on D’Amato.
D’Amato had prepared for this day more than two years ago when he sought City Council approval to designate the Dorothy Mayor Park, next to St. Barnabas Church in Apponaug, as a historic cemetery.
Edward Murphy, of Urquhart-Murphy Funeral Home that made arrangements for the service, including the tent, said a stone with D’Amato’s name would be placed in the park.