Eulogy in Loving Memory of James William Nardulli
April 24th, 2014
If Jimmy, as we called him, even at 59, were here he would be sitting in the pews commenting on the musical selections – educating us all on who the composers were, who they had married, and why we should or should not buy their CD. I emphasize the CD part – we wouldn’t even think about mentioning the “M word” in front of him. “M word” being MP3 of course. The quality is just not the same, he would say..
Jimmy was the son of a concert violinist, Giacinto Nardulli, who had garnered his share of fame and adulation on the classical concert stage with such notables as Toscanini and on the mainstream stage alongside performers such as Neil Diamond. He was the devoted son of Bernice Nardulli, whom he lovingly cared for until she met her heavenly father. Jimmy was the youngest of the four Nardulli brothers, forever being tormented by them, as the baby brother always is.
Jimmy was a classically trained musician, having studied at the prestigious Grove School of Music in Los Angeles. He had all the talent a musician could desire, but he was not after the adulation, he was not interested in fame or even recognition – for Jimmy it was about staying true to himself by forever honing his talents and creating works with meaning. He expressed his passion for music and the arts by writing plays, scores, giving music lessons, and collaborating – often with his dear friends – many of whom are here today.
While most people concern themselves with what others think and keeping up with worldly pursuits, Jimmy’s short life was full of what he was passionate about – his creative pursuits, his friends, and his family. While pondering his life, I could not help but think of the dockworker author, Eric Hoffer, who toiled on the docks all day and then went home to do what he loved — to write. He wrote books that an entire generation of baby boomer college students read voraciously. Jimmy, like Hoffer, had a day job (at UC Irvine) to support his passions most of his working life – but his real life’s work did not start until after 5 when he could return to his music and the world of the arts, often late into the night.
Those of you who knew Jimmy knew that he did not care for bowing to the norms of the 21st century. He refused to use a cell phone or get an answering machine. Jimmy’s rules were simple. You want to talk to Jimmy? You call after 9pm – no exceptions, because he was doing important things and you could be a telemarketer. Jimmy was spending his time at home working on a play or writing a piece of music – he wasn’t about to risk interrupting that for a telephonic survey about his utilities bill. The man had priorities.
There will only be one Jimmy Nardulli. He was charming, sophisticated, and his wit was the envy of all us lesser Nardullis. Always the center of laughter and warmth at every gathering, he was a loyal friend, a devoted son, uncle, brother-in-law and godfather, and the finest brother a man could hope for. Jimmy is in heaven tuning up for his next performance – likely for his beloved parents – and happy he doesn’t have to waste time at his day job.