Thomas D. Ginefra, Sr. was born in Orange, NJ, on June 2,
1925. His parents were Italian immigrants from Rome, hoping
to find life and liberty in the pursuit of happiness in America.
Born a twin, his twin brother died at the age of eight months
old. Tom grew up with three brothers and one sister.

Always an eager and avid reader, he loved to write short
stories as a child. He started writing poetry in high school. He
sold newspapers at the age of five years old on Main St. in his
hometown of Orange, NJ. Tom sold the newspapers for three
cents each and made a penny profit on each one. From 1928
to 1941 there was a severe economic depression that resulted
in Tom working at various jobs after school to help his parents
meet their daily expenses. At twelve years old he started to
caddy at a golf course. At the age of fifteen he was promoted
to Caddy Master, overseeing 300 caddies. At seventeen he
became an assistant to a golf pro (professional golf teacher).  

After seeing a movie called “Pride Of The Marines”, Tom was
inspired to become a marine. World war II had begun and in
his spirit of patriotism he enlisted in the Marine Corps, after he
graduated from high school. Little did he know that the
minimum height requirement to join the Marine Corps was 68”.
Being 64 ½” tall, the Marine Corp rejected him, flat out. Tom’s
mother always told him, “Never be pitied, always be envied”.
With determination, doggedly he tried to enlist eight more
times with the same result. On the tenth time, as the clerk went
to get an application for the next enlistee, Tom wrote 68” in the
height slot on his own application and quickly spun it back
around. The busy clerk must have thought he had already
written in Tom’s height. He handed Tom the application and
told him to proceed to the next room. Days later Tom found
himself in Paris Island boot camp off the coast of South
Carolina. Three months later, after overcoming many
obstacles due to the height difference between himself and his
other platoon members, he was made a PFC, Private First
Class, at the recommendation of his drill instructor. Eighteen
months later, he was promoted to sergeant and after two years
he became a weather forecaster. In 1945 he wrote his first
military poem called
”Of Men” based on the battle of Iwo Jima.
The Marine Corps published this poem, telling him they felt it
was the finest expression of poetry of World War II.

The war had ended and Tom was discharged from the Marine
Corps in 1946, after three years of service. He attended
Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, with a goal of becoming a
lawyer. After two and a half years at college, as a dean’s list
student, he had to quit because his father became ill. Tom
went to work full-time to pay the mortgage. Tom, with a gift of
being a great salesman, held various sales positions ranging
from selling encyclopedias to life insurance. He was ultimately
employed by Sears Roebuck for thirty years as their top-notch
appliance salesman.

In 1953, at twenty-eight, he married his first girlfriend. Over the
next ten years he and his wife, the love of his life, experienced
six pregnancies. Unfortunately two of the babies did not live for
more than two days. Tom and his wife, Marie, were blessed
with four healthy children, two girls and twin boys. From time to
time Tom wrote beautiful poetry for his wife. Sadly, Marie
passed away after ten years of marriage, leaving Tom as a
single father with an eight-week old daughter, 3 year-old twin
sons and a 7 year-old daughter.  With the help of his wife's
mother, he raised his four children. He retired from Sears at
the age of 62 and basked in the love and warmth of his eleven
grandchildren who affectionately called him “PupPup”.

Tom moved to Brick, NJ and appreciated the preciousness of
time and family and grandchildren. He never lost his affinity of
reading and writing poetry and prose. Even in his eighties,
Tom continued to write meaningful poems.

Thomas D. Ginefra, Sr. died on August 7, 2009, at the age of
84 years old. He is remembered as a kind, fun, intelligent, and
generous man who, each and every day, made his family his
number one priority.
Thomas D. Ginefra, Sr.
1945
2000
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