Biography (Written by Larry Gomes) - July 2007
Sal came to De La Salle in our Sophomore year. He had previously
attended a Catholic boys school in New York in a preparatory program for
priesthood, but decided it wasn't for him. Since he and I both lived in
Bristol, we commuted together on the bus and so we became
I visited him at his home in Bristol many times and got to know his mother,
father, two sisters and three brothers really well. They were a very close knit
family and Sal's mother always liked serving a large traditional Italian dinner whenever the occasion arose.
I always called Sal's father "Mr. D" and he and I had a common
interest in MG sports cars.
Sal was very interested in chemistry. He had a lab in basement of
his father's house where he used to make up all kinds of concoctions. Some of
this stuff looked downright dangerous when it started smoking or bubbling,
but he never caused any damage.
Even though he was not able to physically contribute, Sal volunteered
his help to the DLS football team. He was also on the yearbook
staff. He was one of the smarter guys in our class and I will always
remember when he walked into a classroom, everyone would start saying
When we were deciding which colleges to attend, both Sal and I were
constrained by funding. He wanted to be a chemical engineer and
settled for U.R.I. (I wanted to be a forest ranger, but did
not have the money to go to the University of Maine, so I also settled for
U.R.I.) We decided to room together after we both got accepted.
We ended up in room 223 at Adams Hall on the West side of the
campus. This was one of the older dorms, with 4 floors split into
two wings and a common bathroom/shower facility in the middle of each
wing. When we arrived at our room, it was in need of paint.
Sal chose black for the walls and blue for the ceiling. We instantly
became know as the students in the "black
Since I was handy with carpentry, I installed hanging bookshelves and
we split the room into a study section and a sleeping section with some
fake walls made out of black mesh. It was dark during the day, but
at night it looked great when we turn on our "black lights" and
the posters on the walls lit up in weird colors.
At that time, U.R.I. put most freshman students into large
auditorium-sized classes of 300-400 students for the basic core classes
like math, chemistry, biology, etc. The chances of running into
straight-A students in these classes was a statistical certainty,
eliminating any chances of getting our marks scaled up. After
the first year, I was barely staying in school with a 2.0 average.
Sal was doing better, somewhere around 3.0, but he was not happy in his
chemical engineering major.
Sal and I were both worried about getting drafted during the Viet Nam war
so we enrolled into an ROTC class (which was basically a WWII history class)
just in case our number got called. Back then, the Selective Service used a lottery to assign a number
from 1 to 365 for each month and day of your birth.
In February of 1972, the lottery numbers were pulled for
our birth year. I can remember everyone sitting in the hallway
listening to the radio as each number was announced. Sal got
"299" and I got "313", which meant we were way above
the threshold with no chance of being called.
As some point during Freshman year, Paul Primiano told us about the
business program at U.R.I. he had enrolled in. It had smaller
classes (ie: less competition) and his subjects sounded a lot easier to
us. We both decided to switch into that program for the second
semester of Sophomore year.
Since we were not sure what subjects to
take, Sal came up with the idea of signing up for 10 courses and letting
the computer do the scheduling for us. I agreed, so we both signed
up for the same 10 courses. When our schedule came through, we were
shocked. The computer had scheduled us for all 10 courses!
Sal suggested that we go to all 10 classes and then drop the 5 that we
liked the least. Again I agreed and so we began going to classes,
pretty much 9 to 5 every day. At night, we would work together on
homework. Sal was a whiz at math and that helped me a lot. I
was a whiz at Fortran programming and marketing courses, so I helped
him with those. After 4 weeks, we came to the drop deadline and
decided not to drop any courses. It was not easy, but at the end of
our Sophomore year, we had gotten a full year of the business program done
in just one semester.
Also, at the end of
our Sophomore year, we both dropped
out of ROTC. The Army Sergeant in charge was really disappointed, but
to continue in ROTC, we would have to enlist and we were not ready
to do that with our high lottery numbers.
In our Junior year, we continued with the double-course load, taking 10 courses in the fall
semester and 10 courses in the spring semester. Meanwhile, Sal was
already thinking ahead. He had calculated that if we took 2 summer
day courses and 2 summer night courses, we would be done by August of
our Junior year. This really appealed to both of us, because it
would save us from financing our Senior year.
After completing the summer courses, we went to see the Dean about getting our
diploma's. He was not happy. He said we had not taken the courses
in the correct order (ie: we had ignored pre-requisites) so we could not
graduate. Sal told
the Dean, the computer did the scheduling and so it was not our
problem. But the Dean still would not give in.
On the way out, Sal said something to the effect that one of his
relatives was a writer for the Providence Journal and it was going to make
a great story in the Sunday paper. That got the Dean thinking, so he
said, don't do anything and he would get back to us. A week later
the Dean called and said we could pick up our diploma's, but we could not
attend graduation. Of course, that was fine with us.
Meanwhile, our student loans for Senior Year had come in. Sal had
always wanted to visit Europe (he had relatives in Italy), so we decided
to use our loans to fund the trip. Again Sal figured out all the
angles, coming up with the exact dates for the trip. His idea was to
purchase a 30-day Eurail pass that would give us unlimited first-class
When you first used the pass, the conductor would write the date onto
the pass, and it would be good for 30 days from that date. But Sal
figured out a way to get an extra two weeks by changing the dates (ie:
like making a 1 into a 7 or a 3 into an 8). I can't remember the
exact sequence, but it worked. We got 6 weeks of train travel for the
price of 4 weeks.
In our Freshman year, we had signed up with the International Pen
Pal Directory and had been corresponding with female pen pals in Germany,
Denmark and Sweden. On our trip to Europe, we first
visited with Sal's relatives in Italy, then we proceeded to visit with our
pen pals. We got lots of free meals, free tours and sometimes they
even gave us a place to stay. It was great fun and really helped to
cut down on our expenses. After all, we only had $1,000 to spend for
plane fare, train fare, meals, accommodations and side trips, so we needed
all the help we could get.
When we got back, the economy was in a recession. The Arab Oil
Embargo which had started in 1973 had caused gas rationing, sending the
economy and the stock market into a free fall. I had been fixing
cars on the side and that became my full-time job. Sal got a job in
a restaurant. Finally after sending out our resume's for months, we
both got jobs in the Spring of 1975. Sal got a job as an accountant
for Ingersoll-Rand in New Jersey and I got a programming job at Amica
Insurance in Providence.
Sal then ended up changing jobs several times. He worked for
Touche Ross (one of the big 8 accounting firms at the time) and traveled
to companies all over the U.S. as an auditor. He eventually ended up
working for Phillips Petroleum in Tulsa, Okalahoma in the early 1980's and
finally relocated back to Nashua, NH in the late 1980's working for MA-Com. At
some point during his professional career, he changed his name from
Salvatore R. DePasquale to Richard S. DePasquale. I was never sure
of the reason, but I always called him Sal even though his co-workers called
He really surprised me one day, when he called and told me that he was
getting married to his Danish pen pal. I think it was in 1976 and I
had just taken a new job in Worcester. He wanted me to fly over to
Denmark to be his best man at the wedding. I did not have any
vacation time so it meant taking several days off without pay from a new job and I
declined. In retrospect, I wish I had done it, but sometimes you
make the wrong decisions for the right reasons.
He got married and his new wife moved to America to start a
family. That was the second surprise call, when he said they had a
baby daughter (sometime around 1979). I remember visiting him and his
wife in Okalahoma shortly after Regina was born.
Unfortunately the marriage did not work out and when Regina was 4 years
old, her mother moved back to Denmark with Regina and he never saw her
again. That was really hard for Sal. He tried for years to get
visitation rights, but the courts in Denmark would not grant it.
Another thing people did not know about Sal is that he had a rare form
of Muscular Dystrophy. I always knew he had a problem getting up
stairs, but he always told me it was just an enzyme deficiency. I
suspected it was more serious than that, but respected his right of
privacy about the problem.
As he got older, he had to really struggle to get up stairs and
eventually had to walk with a cane. When he moved back to Nashua, NH in the late 1980's, my wife and I used to stop by and give him
a hand moving stuff around or carrying things upstairs. His family
also used to come by and help him out. But he was stubborn and he
would not move his bedroom from the second to the first floor since it
forced him to make the trip upstairs at least once each day.
One day, he asked me to come to his house and when I arrived he told me he had
cancer. It was really a shock to me since he was only 36 at the
time. He also asked me to be the executor for his estate. I
really did not want the job since I knew his family so well, but I reluctantly accepted. Over the next 6 months, Sal got weaker and
weaker. He had decided not to go through chemotherapy since his
muscles were already too weak. He opted instead for pain-killing prescription drugs and tried to eat a very healthy diet. But in the
end, the cancer took him.
After he died, I worked with his family to arrange his funeral and
burial. We were able to find a plot in Bristol, RI so his family could
visit his gravesite. I held his estate in trust for several years until
his daughter was old enough to be contacted. Eventually she did come
to the U.S. and visit with Sal's family. She is now happily married
living in Denmark with her new husband.
In closing, I would like to share with you one of Sal's favorite sayings:
"All things will pass; nothing will remain but death and the glory
Rest in peace, my good friend...