Kind, loving, silly, long-winded storyteller, family-oriented
Vincent was a loving, caring son, brother, friend, uncle and was always inclusive of the “odd man out” kid. He was an insightful, thoughtful child who loved having friends and also being a good friend. He had the ability to diffuse a situation, mainly because he could see all sides, and before you knew it, he would talk you into giving that person a second chance.
He had a cousin Petee who was his best friend from an early age. They were inseparable. Vincent was always there, talking to him each day for their whole lives. They later shared their addiction. At Vincent’s funeral Petee told Vincent’s mother that he couldn’t live this life without “Vinnie” as he called him. “He was the only one who loved me when I was afraid of all of the stuff in my head. He was the only person I ever felt would never leave me.” Petee died from an overdose a little over a year later. Vincent loved with a spirit that resonated throughout the memories of him that his friends and family shared after his death. They said that especially during dark times he was there for them and would listen and encourage them.
His sister Gabriella holds many fond memories of Vincent in her heart. He loved her and her children fiercely and adored being her baby brother. Once when Gabriella was telling him a funny story, he laughed so hard Kool-Aid started coming out of his nose. Gabriella started laughing too and the same thing happened to her. Kool-Aid went everywhere. What a visual memory!
One time Vincent’s mother asked him what his favorite memories were of being a kid. She thought he would mention something big, but he said two things: Homemade playdough that he made at her girlfriend’s house, and their picnic dance parties they had with a quilt on their living room floor -just his mother, his sister Gabriella, and their dogs. They had a good laugh with those memories, and a few days later his mother told him how much that meant to her. As a single mom, she often felt like they didn’t do a lot of things other people were doing, but those moments meant so much to her, and she was so happy they meant that to him too.
Vincent’s interest in new recipes and different foods was becoming apparent during their holiday traditions such as the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. He was the only one who would even try the “old fashioned” seafood such as smelts, fish cakes, and calamari. He loved homemade food and always had a passion for cooking and recipes. His last job was as a cook in an Asian restaurant. The owner, who was Vietnamese, taught him quite a bit about their culture and the use of herbs and spices for something other than Italian food. He felt his new boss had really taken an interest in him, and he finally saw himself in a career.
His love of cooking and his love of being included were rolled into one. His mother thought this was the ”thing” that would turn his life around and he would have no more relapses. She thought if he was happy, he would not use drugs. She shared, “Little did I know it would take his death for me to realize I couldn’t love him into recovery until he loved himself enough to want recovery.”
Vincente’s mother, PennyAnne Rogers, provided the information for this narrative.
August 17, 1993-July 14, 2017-Age 23
Portrait Artist: Shawn Faust
Narrative Writer: Lynn McKnight