It was with much sadness when I saw in my Facebook News Feed that my former student Dr.Justine Bhar-Amato's father Eugene Joseph Amato, 80, of Wayne, N.J., passed away passed away on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, surrounded by his loving family.
I wish to express my deeepest condolences to Justine and the Amato family. I am indeed saddened by the news because the late Mr. Amato has left a vacuum in this world and in our hearts that cannot be filled. He was such an inspiring man who spoke honestly from his heart and sincerely with his eyes. He inspired Justine and many who knew him including myself to be more than who we are and to chase our dreams to make them reality.
The first time I met him was during the first Parent-Teacher Consultation when Justine was in Year 10. Then, Justine was in my Economics class in Uplands International School. I remember how Mr Amato commended me for the high standard of work I expected from the class, the type of assignments and research projects they had to undertake even at the age of 15 and the way I motivated the kids. That was so validating!
At that time, Justine was just an ordinary student but what caught my attention was her insatiable desire to learn and to know more. Her cohort is one of the best I have ever taught in Uplands. I challenged them with so much homework and unbelievably, they complied and tried their best. Justine even wrote a 16 verse poem on Demand and Supply which I have kept till today. She went on to score straight As in her 'O' levels in Uplands and 'A' levels in UK and her medical degree at UCL. Currently, Dr. Justine Bhar-Amato is a clinical research associate at UCL and the Heart Hospital, UCLH Foundation Trust. She holds a clinical research training fellowship awarded by Heart Research UK. She is doing a PhD in Autonomic Modulation in Brugada Syndrome. You can read her papers here and HERE.
Justine's accomplishment is testimony of the wonderful parenting from her parents, both of whom I respect greatly. Her mother, Dato' Rhina Bhar, is another fantastic person who was there for me at a very critical experience of my life. Justine is not only big in brains but also in her heart, always reaching out to me via FB if she knew I was unwell or down. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to teach Justine and to see her grow into a fine young doctor and to know both her parents.
Despite my few interactions with Mr. Amato - the last being at a celebration dinner at Mr. Bhar's home to celebrate the graduation of Shai and Natasha from law school, Dheeraj from medical school in 2005, I am not exaggerating when I say each left an indelible mark on me because of the observations, advice, wisdom and experience he shared so freely and humbly.
My son, Jonathan, was only 5 when he met Mr. Amato in 1994 at a dinner treat for my family in appreciation for teaching and guiding Justine. Jon remembers Mr. Amato clearly when I broke the sad news to him and even asked me if he had curly hair! That is the sort of legacy Mr. Amato has left behind. May his children and grandchildren continue to impart his ideals, principles and zest for life to those with whom they come into contact. May Eugene Joseph Amato rest in peace, always.
According to this site:
Family and friends are welcome for visitation hours on Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Farmer Funeral Home, 45 Roseland Ave., Roseland, N.J. 07068. Funeral services will be held on Friday at 10 a.m. in the funeral home. Interment will be at Mr. Olivet Cemetery, Bloomfield, N.J. Condolences and memories can be shared at THIS LINK.
He then began a career as an engineer and later a senior executive in the early days of the technology industry in Silicon Valley, working for General Instrument, Fairchild Semiconductor, and National Semiconductor. During these years, he managed manufacturing facilities in a series of locations outside the U.S., including Taiwan, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Taking a leave of absence from National Semiconductor, he served from 1979 to 1980 under President Jimmy Carter as assistant to the secretary of transportation and as deputy administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). During his tenure at NHTSA, he conceived of and published the government-sponsored Car Book, a consumer guide to purchasing automobiles, now in its 32nd year of publication.
After his career in the semiconductor industry, he served as chief executive officer for a number of start-up businesses, including San Francisco-based Grocery Express.
He was the beloved son of the late James Amato and Catherine (Cerami) Amato; devoted father of Eugene Amato and his wife, Carol; Joseph Amato and his wife, Lisa, and Justine Bhar-Amato; and cherished grandfather of Christopher, Alyse, Elizabeth and Joseph Jr. He was predeceased by his siblings.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, New York, N.Y. 10163-4777, or at THIS LINK.