We lost my Grandfather Bill Constantine Sr. on 1/4/18 to a battle with cancer. My Grandfather helped my father buy Constantine Sealing back in 1979. When I say ‘I wouldn’t be here without my Grandfather,’ that would be an understatement. Not only would this opportunity have not existed but my Grandfather has unconditionally helped me out regardless of any situation in my life, good or bad. I am 30 years old and he has been there every step of the way in my life. He was ready to drop anything, at any given time, to help me or anyone else out that he could. That is the type of person he was. He owned and managed Constantine Hardware of which most of you have visited or have had a lawn mower or snow blower repaired there. You could usually find him out front with a big smile on his face because he was just a happy person. A person anyone could have benefited from knowing or following his example. His heart was full of love for his family and friends. I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite memories of my Grandfather.
1) We used to visit him at the Hardware store quite regularly when we were younger. He had the coolest hardware store imaginable because there were toys, bikes, trains, candy etc. It was full of awesome kids’ stuff and of course, my Grandfather, who just couldn’t get enough of all his Grandkids. He had this whiskey barrel out front of the store which was filled with sand. Every time we would come down to visit he would hide quarters in there when we weren’t looking and tell us to dig for them. We would usually use our quarters for the candy machines or kept them for our piggy banks. Just imagine yourself at 4,5,6 year of age digging in the sand to find money... Obviously something I’ll never forget.
2) My brothers and I used to play outside every nice day we could. One day we decided to race our bikes down the hill in our backyard. I wasn’t going to lose to my little brothers so there was no way I was planning on using my brakes, ever. Somehow my bike slipped on all the pine needles from one of the trees and I smashed my face into my handlebars. My nose was bleeding, I was crying, my brother Kyle ran to get my mom… not like she wasn’t used to it at this point. My father was working so she called my grandfather to come over and check on me. He came over and had this comforting presence about him. I felt like when he was there any situation was going to be okay. He started making jokes and got me to laugh and calm down. He put some ice on it and made sure it wasn’t broken (even though today it’s still a little crooked). I remember sitting on the deck; I was bleeding everywhere just looking at him looking at me making sure everything was okay. Which is what the guy always did…
3) One day at the beach he let me take his boat over to Block Island with a few of my friends. Everything was going great, no breakdowns and we were keeping the boat clean. We had a good day over on the island and came back in the afternoon. We got back to the pond and made it through the breach way when one of my friends fell into the windshield and broke it right before we got back to the dock. I was so mad because it wasn’t my fault and the first time he lets me take the boat, I broke it! So after everyone got off I cleaned it and went to the house and said “Pop, we had a little problem. I broke the windshield on the boat” and he looks at me and said “if that’s the only thing you broke then we don’t have any problems.” I offered to pay for it and fix it and he refused to take any of my money. Making sure i was alright and didn’t feel bad was his priority, the boat was secondary.
4) I bought a house in 2014. That summer my water heater started leaking when I wasn’t home. Fast forward a few hours later, I find a flooded basement. I call my Dad for guidance who was busy at work. He told me to call my Grandfather, who I should have just called in the first place. It was 9:00 pm and I knew he had to be relaxing but 10 minutes later he was at my front door with a box of tools ready to fix the problem. He showed me where the shut off was and we turned off the water, hooked a hose to the water heater to drain anything left in the pipes so it didn’t make the basement any worse and started pumping water out. The guy could fix anything, anytime, anywhere.
As you can see my Grandfather had many qualities you would look for in a Grandfather, father, husband, brother, uncle, local business owner, town councilman, fire commissioner, chamber of commerce leader, community advocate, etc. He was a role model to me and I admired everything about the guy. I know that I will miss him along with the rest of our family and our community.
You can click to read the obituary from the Hartford Courant. Service hours are from 4-7 at Mulryan’s Funeral Home 725 Hebron Ave Glastonbury CT In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Marine Corps League Peter P. Monaco, Jr., Detachment 40 at Mcldet40.org.