The tough news continues, for some classmates, closer to home. This winter, we lost Gio Prezioso to cancer. He was our class valedictorian and an animating presence during his six years at Gilman. Adam Weisenberg, passing through NYC this past fall, brought me up to speed about Gio’s intense battle with an especially lethal form of the disease. Still, the news of his death, in late February, was a shock to everybody. This was a formidable guy: top academic honors at Harvard and Harvard Law School; a partner at a top D.C. law firm; general counsel at the SEC for four years; passionate about his pro bono work at Freedom House. But I imagine Gio will be best remembered as a loving husband to Betsy, father to Emily, Julia and Alex, grandfather to Annie and Nell. And friend to so many in our class!
Carl Offit wrote: “I was so sad to hear about our classmate, Giovanni. What a great spirit.”
Dirk Fitzpatrick, Gio’s D.C. area neighbor, gives a longer view: “My wife Stephanie and I still live in Takoma Park, and work full time, she as the manager of a small art foundation in D.C. and I as a software engineer. We're fortunate to have our children, Alexandra (just engaged!) and Rob, close by in Baltimore. A number of us '75ers re-connected at the wedding of Giovanni's daughter, Julia. It was a joyful celebration replete with a fire dancer! That was followed far too quickly by his passing. Throughout his final journey he showed courage and resilience, often repeating the slogan ‘Andrà tutto bene!’ (‘Everything is going to be all right.’)”
Tom Miller takes us back further in time. “Giovanni was one of my very closest friends while at Gilman, and it is with profound sadness that I write a few words about him and our relationship. At Gilman, during what we later referred to as our “long-haired years,” both of us were generally on the nerdy end of the spectrum. But our bond was really cemented outside of school. Gio’s and my first salaried job, with an actual paycheck, was working one summer as gardeners pulling weeds at the Hampton Mansion. I’ll never forget going frequently to his house where his mom would prepare lunch for us and his brothers and sisters would be romping around. He was a regular visitor to my family’s house, too, especially to our well-known, if somewhat infamous, top-of-the-garage clubhouse there.
“There are just too many stories — almost all happy ones — from our Gilman days and beyond to recount here. Let me finish with a direct quote from Gio’s valedictory address that he gave at his graduation: ‘The man who uses all his energies to the fullest, the man who enjoys what he is doing, is certain to be the most successful.’ That pretty much sums up the life of Giovanni Prezioso, a dear friend who will be sorely missed.”
Finally, Selwyn Ray goes deep:
“As our 1975 brotherhood evolves some of the family departs our earthly plane. I value all of the friendship and connections that our class provided. I recently had the distinct honor to ‘walk’ with our beloved Giovanni as he moved to the other side of eternity. We shared scripture, warm thoughts and some heavy theological musings. Gio knew Greek so when he mentioned something Biblical to me in our conversations, I knew he knew what he was talking about, or at least I thought I was closer to the ‘truth.’ Gio asked me about a worthy organization that he could support and he did so without hesitation making his family mark on a youth boxing center in East Baltimore. He was living his faith right before my eyes as he was approaching the very object of his faith with each passing day and breath … little did we know, but what I detected from my spiritual encounter with Gio as he transitioned, is that we all should be a lot more mindful about our actions, our deeds and our thoughts because as Gio and I discussed, we don’t know the specific minute or the hour but we do know that we all are approaching the moment when we finish our time on earth and hopefully find ourselves like Gio, CARPE LUCEM … or as we learned to believe as young students … In Tuo Lumine Lumen. Shine on our dear Giovanni shine on. Your Loving Brother Traveler, Sel”
reported by Joe Hooper '75