Updated 12/19/2012 10:45 PM
Remembering the 'Saint,' Gino Turchi
He was the ‘Saint’ of all ‘Saints’ and not just on Siena College's campus. Gino Turchi passed away Saturday at the age of 96. Wednesday, those who loved him came to share his story. Innae Park has more.
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LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. -- The stories about Gino Turchi are endless.
“Watching how he and [his wife] Willie interacted. When she was in an accident a year or so ago and was in rehabilitation for awhile, he was there every single day, went home and did the laundry, probably never did it before in his life and learned how to do it,” said John D'Argenio, the Athletics Director at Siena College.
From thoughtful moments, as his neighbor Janet Kopacki described, “When my husband was sick, he would come just about every other day, check on him, see how he was doing.”
Then there are just plain funny tales.
OD Anosike, the captain of the Siena Men’s basketball team, laughed before saying, “Gino's station wagon was all over the place. It was in places where it wasn't supposed to be. We always knew Gino was around when his car was parked on the sidewalk.”
Florian Kopacki said, “Gino was a real great man. We're gonna miss him.”
Turchi and his wife, Willie, created a legacy. Among the many deeds, a scholarship at Siena College, a golf course in Clifton Park and donations to the area YMCA, which led to a center being named after him.
“He was good to a lot of organizations here in the Capital Region,” said Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings. “He never forgot where he came from and we all loved him for that.”
That's not all. There were also the hours upon hours of supporting a school that became their own.
Anosike said, “They came to practice, they came to games, they made the trips. It just made you battle that much harder on the floor.”
In return, Siena College gave the Turchis’ name to the road leading to the Marcelle Athletic Center and the theater for sports film. In 2005, Gino received an honorary doctorate degree. All these actions built a bond that won't ever be broken.
The Turchis lost their only son, Eugene, a number of years ago. Since then, many on the Siena campus say they’ve grown close to the couple dear to many hearts.
“I think everybody looks at them as a mother/father or grandmother/grandfather,” said D’Argenio. “So I think that this is his family.”