Victor John Damiani, 81, passed away late Monday night, February 17, 2020. His wife of 41 years, Judy, and son, Stephen, were at his bedside.
Victor, who was born in Galveston, was the son of John Damiani and Leona Damiani Holzworth, the half-brother of Jules Rizzo, the cousin of popular entertainer, Kate Martelli, and the nephew of Rena Damiani Regini, Antoinette Wythe, Camille Damiani Martelli and Ursuline Damiani Ciaccio Blume.
Victor was a senior underwriter and department head for American National Insurance Co. for many years before he retired in 2003. However, beginning before the sixth grade, he had part-time jobs to help support himself. Some included a runner and busboy for the Maceos’ and Willie Wisko’s beachfront bingo parlors, and in high school, an ambulance and family car driver for Malloy & Son Funeral Home. He later sold life insurance for Prudential Insurance Co. and was an agent for the Galveston branch of the Texas State Comptroller’s office.
In addition to graduating from Ball High School in 1958, he attended the University of Texas and Sam Houston State University. Victor had an incredible memory of Galveston history. And he knew countless stories, all factual, about the island’s early days, 1900s forward. He was a Bible student, very devoted to the First Presbyterian Church, where he sang in the choir and often soloed Handel’s Messiah during the Christmas seasons.
He was a talented actor. As a senior in high school, he had the starring role as the district attorney in The Night of January 16th, a theatrical play by Ayn Rand. Ironically, the play was performed in the courtroom of Galveston’s most beloved district attorney, Jules Damiani, Jr., who was Victor’s cousin. As the play’s DA, Victor won the jury’s poll made up of members of the audience. In the main, Victor had to begin to live his life as an adult, beginning in junior high school. He had an incredible understanding of right from wrong and what was the high road. With those tools, be had a dramatic influence on his cohorts.
He had the perfect given name: Victor because he was a true victor.
His friend, Dr. Edwards McReynolds, wrote, “Vic kept our adolescent memories and fantasies alive for as long as we all will survive. He mentally recorded and retold every event of our youth, and in so doing kept us all connected through the years.”
“He created a sense of family and continuity for all of us when our own families were often broken or fragmented. His role as a storyteller and historian was the glue that kept all of us young and appreciative that we grew up together in a special time and a special place called Galveston….I think that he cared about us very much (in) his role as the “elder statesman” – The Fonz….
“His absence will create an empty silent chair in our group…Goodbye my friend, and thanks for the memories.”
Victor is survived by hie wife, Judy; sons Mark and his wife, Jeannie; Stephen and his wife Sara; his grandchildren Nicholas, Stephen, Kathryn and Kirsten; and an immeasurable number of very devoted friends.
Victor’s family will receive visitors beginning at 11:00 am, Sunday, March 1st, at Malloy & Son Funeral Home, 3028 Broadway, in Galveston. A memorial service will begin at 12:00 noon.