By Owen Canfield
In his obituary, you’ll read about Lou Moscaritolo’s coaching and teaching accomplishments. Louie, who died Friday at 86, served Torrington and Torrington High School, for 58 years.
He left great memories a shining example for the people he touched, and they were many. A teacher, coach and mentor to countless students, he was the kind of guy who always left a man with a good word and a smile.
He became known to me when I was a young reporter with the Torrington Register in the 1960s. He loved the fact that I was a devoted family man and father of many children. “Owie’’ he called me, the only man or woman ever to call me that. Moscaritolo loved it when he could pay a person a compliment and he did it with a full-heartedness that made them both feel good.
When I wrote a column all in rhyme called “Ma Did’’ for Mothers’ Day, 1963 (or was it ‘64?), he never forgot it, saying it reminded him of his own mother.
Louie was a guy who didn’t mind at all standing in the background while others took the bows, satisfied with knowing the contributions he had made to a winning effort. That was his nature. But he also knew he was very skilled at what he did and there is a very good feeling that goes with that, too.
I went off to work in Hartford when Louie was a teacher of Spanish and Social Studies at THS and an assistant to basketball coach Connie Donahue. He loved and admired Donahue and when we spoke about the longtime THS coach after Connie’s death, Moscaritolo couldn’t hold back tears. He was a strong man but emotional, as well and he had traveled many a long basketball mile with Connie.
After retiring, the old coach joined popular broadcaster Dan Lovallo describing THS football and basketball games. He seemed quite comfortable at the mike.
Kids loved the guy because they could see that he felt the same about them.
When he lost his beloved Marie, wife of almost 50 years, Moscaritolo was himself lost. But then he met Rose.
Friday, she remembered, saying:
“My husband, Stu Tobin, and I went to daily Mass at St. Peter’s Church. So did Lou and Marie. After my husband died, I continued to go. And then Marie passed. Weeks went by. Lou was there at Mass and so was I, both of us alone. We saw each other often.
“Time heals. And one morning, I spoke to him. Later that day, we talked. And, it just happened.’’ They honeymooned at Niagara Falls and he showed his new bride St. Bonaventure, where he had obtained his degree so many years ago.
Rose described the final months. Lou, legally blind for the past four years, tried to use the small gym they had in their house, but it became more and more difficult. Finally, high blood pressure and other afflictions forced him into Valerie Manor and eventually it all caught up with him.
She is 88 years old. She is still a skilled golfer and, yes, she said, she will continue playing golf. I know he would want her to do that. She knows it too.