July 16, 2010
This past July 16th, the Chapel lost one of its original members and also one of its first ushers, Mr. Eugene Tullio. Following is the statement read at Mass and at his funeral:
It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Mr. Eugene Tullio. As you all know, Mr. Tullio in addition to taking care of his wife Gilda who passed away not too long ago, has battled many serious health problems. Through all of this his only wish was to be able to be here for Mass in this Chapel each week at his post.
Gene as he was called was one of our original ushers serving the Chapel faithfully each week always standing right here in the front fulfilling the dual role of usher and security.
As many of you know, Mr. Tullio served with distinction for many years as a member of the New York Police Department. Many years ago there was a popular song that appeared on a children’s program to help children learn to respect and trust the police. It was called “THE POLICEMAN ON THE CORNER IS A VERY GOOD FRIEND OF MINE”. Well, the writer of that song must have had Mr. Tullio in mind because that was the kind of policeman he was; always a helpful and friendly smile to those who followed the law. And for those who did not, they knew they would be dealt with and yet treated with the dignity of a human being.
In those early turbulent years after the opening of the Ave Maria Chapel while being one of our first ushers, Mr. Tullio also quietly and respectfully provided a shield of protection to both the Blessed Sacrament and to Father De Pauw by standing here in the front by the Communion rail ready to ensure nothing would ever happen to either the Blessed Sacrament or Father De Pauw.
Through the years Gene made the choice between family and friends numerous times and always remained loyal to the true Mass and to the Ave Maria Chapel. This was evident when Father De Pauw passed away and Mr. Tullio unlike many of his friends remained loyal. Even when illness got the better of him physically he never abandoned the post he so faithfully served for so many years.