Groundhog’s Day

Author: vicque fassinger
Category: The Daily Blog

19 years ago today, February 2, 1998 – Groundhog’s Day, my dad died in my arms. I share with the universe an article I wrote about him a few days after he died; it was published in our city’s newspaper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

John “Jack” Edward Fassinger, Sr. ~ co-founder of Blue Flamingo Productions, avid golfer, and proud father of PGA member, and grandfather of baseball pro in-the-making – died before his natural time.

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent; a part of the main…any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” (John Donne, Meditation 17) The tragic and recent demise of Rocky River native John “Jack” Edward Fassinger, Sr. has profoundly altered the chapters in the Grand Book of Life from this moment forward; our loss now becomes everyone’s loss – whether directly or indirectly – all of our lives have been diminished. Jack’s awesome and love-filled life had such a wondrous and grand impact on those who loved, respected, and adored him that now the loss of that life utterly affects us forever beyond description or comprehension. . Blue-eyed, charismatic Jack Fassinger graduated from Rocky River High School and did his undergraduate studies at Miami University. He proudly served in the Army Air Force, earning the rank of Captain; his military endeavors took him across the oceans and to foreign lands. Following an honorable discharge, he returned home and worked at the Cleveland Arcade site of his family’s Chicago-based business. It was there at the Arcade that he met and fell in love with Victoria Casini – the woman who was to become his soulmate, his life’s partner, the devoted mother of their three children. Like his father, Jack became a member of the oldest and largest fraternity in the world – the Masons; as a 32nd degree Mason of the Scottish Rite, Jack gathered with fellow members at an early age to learn and discuss the great lessons of life – the importance of honor and integrity, of being a person on whom others can rely, of being both trusting and trustworthy, of realizing you have a spiritual nature as well as a physical nature, and of knowing how to love and be loved. These virtues were evident throughout Jack’s entire life. Though his family owned a successful business and he had traveled the world, he was neither a pretentious braggart nor a materialist; he respected everyone who came upon his path straightaway – never judgmental, never condescending, never doubtful of the innate goodness in everyone.

His people skills and his ability to establish long-term business relationships made him a natural success in sales. Shortly after his family sold their business, he built his career in the automotive industry at Fairchild Chevrolet in Lakewood where he earned numerous awards for his commitment to exceed client & corporate expectations. Several years later, after putting his three children through college, he retired from Tim Lally Chevrolet. Immediately Jack secured a great part-time job doing what he loved most -being on and near a golf course. For the past several years, Jack has worked as a starter, tee master, and golf pro shop associate for the Metro Park Sleepy Hollow Golf Course in Brecksville. He was a well-respected co-worker, and while maintaining his coolness and sense of humor (even during his physical pain) was always able to keep the golf patrons (even some of the seemingly-inpatient ones) – happily teed off!

With the spirit of a true entrepreneur, Jack encouraged and guided the start-up & development of America’s best professional & creative writing service – Blue Flamingo Productions¬©.

Jack was very wise and yet humble. He knew a lot about a lot of things, yet he modestly shared his vast and incredible knowledge of a myriad of topics only when called upon. So unless you were talking about motorcycles, travels ventured, or skiing, you would never know that he has ventures with a 1946 Indian, lived in Germany, and once left his skis on a mountaintop. He has a wide range of interests, was free-spirited, and open to new experiences. He was a great cook. He not only made thee best turkey dinner anyone had ever tasted, but also the most delicious gyros, Greek salads, peanut butter sandwiches, and Japanese steaks! Jack was a great blackjack & poker player, pinochle partner, and tricial pursuit opponent. He enjoyed a great match of tennis on the tube, playing golf on the course, and cheering for his favorite wrestlers in the ring. He often went to sporting events, local and national music concerts, fairs, golf tournaments, and seminars; he even ventured to Columbus to hear a spoken word gig by Henry Rollins! He enrolled in Qi Gong classes, climbed mountains in Arizona, drove to Las Vegas with his wife, and relentlessly strove to hit at least one good shot a round. He loved golf, and he loved the new King Cobras his kids got him. He loved golfing with his son, John, Jar.; they regularly golfed at SLeepy Hollow and surrounding courses. For several winters, Jack and Victoria vacationed in Scottsdale where they stayed with John, their daughter-in-law Jennifer, and their grandson Brandon; together Jack and John, Jr. often hit the links at Arizona’s renowned Troon, Desert Mountain GC, Paradise Valley GC, and Boulders. This past season Jack happily and patiently golfed with me several times at Sleepy Hollow and Stonewater. He had an uncanny way of putting people at ease; he had unconditional love and acceptance for his family, his friends, the world, and life. He readily acknowledged and appreciated the beauty of a deer on a deserted golf course near sunrise, and the magnificence of the first site of spring. He never had an unkind word to say about anyone, and confrontations were never part of his style. He was easygoing (unless, of course, the ice trays weren’t filled, he couldn’t find the remote, someone left the light on in the family room, or you didn’t return his favorite pen.) He loved dogs as much as I do. He loved dogs as much as I do. I write that twice because I am certain my love for animals comes from him. Through all my travels, schooling, experiences, and employment endeavors, I have never met anyone like my dad, Jack Fassinger. There are so many awesome aspects of his complex simplicity that I admire and yearn to emulate. My loss is profound. Our loss is profound. In addition to a family golfing/sightseeing trip to Australia this upcoming fall, Jack and Victoria had planned to retire to Arizona as soon as he felt better.

Jack is mourned deeply by his beloved wife of 42 years (this May 26th), Victoria; his loving daughter, Jackie (husband: Brian), a teacher in Virginia and the mother of his first two grandsons – Dustin: a baseball pro hopeful who wanted his grandfather to see him in the Majors; his adorable grandson, Scottie; Jack’s beautiful son, John, Jr., (wife: Jennifer) a professional golfer and former staff member of Jack Nicklaus’ Desert Mountain, and Brandon Fassinger, his two-year-old grandson; his two labrador retrievers, Perpper and Fido; and me – his favorite.


On Monday, February 2nd, 1998 the world profoundly changed; John “Jack” Edward Fassinger, Sr. – surrounded by the love, prayers, and tears of his immediate family at his hospital bedside – took his last breath. Though he had seen numerous doctors during his stoic struggle with chronic arm/back pain since January ’97, he was neither tested for nor diagnosed with cancer until January ’98. He died at University Hospitals of Cleveland just five days after being admitted through ER.

Friends & family were invited to his services and to celebrate his life on Saturday, February 7th, 1998 at the 19th hole at Sleepy Hollow Golf Course on Brecksville Road in Brecksville. Tee time – 4:00 P.M. sharp.

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