Kelly J. Stigliano
What Dom Did With His Dash
We’ve all heard the poem by Linda Ellis called “The Dash”. She refers to the dash between the birth date and the death date on every tombstone. Ellis asks what we will each do with the dash in between; will we make our lives matter?
Dominick Morris Stigliano began his life on October 30, 1912 in Colobraro, Italy. On November 19, 2009 he finally got to meet his Lord face to face, a privilege he’d been longing to do for years. While in his early 90’s Dom fretted, “My friends are going to think I didn’t make it!” At age 97 his buddies welcomed their dear friend and co-laborer in Christ to His eternal home.
What did Dom do with his Dash? After accepting Christ into his life at the age of 14, he began to witness to others. His witnessing progressed until he was a fully-involved evangelist preaching throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and further.
While preaching in Baltimore, God spoke to Dom regarding Columbus, OH. In obedience he established Columbus Christian Assembly. That was 1939 and this church has since moved and multiplied in size many times. He received his ordination by the CCNA Northwest District in 1941.
A faithful giver and meeting and convention attendee, Dom always supported the movement. He gladly held various positions including Treasurer, Pastor, Interim Pastor, and sat on the board of the Northwest District Camp in Sharpsville, PA from 1958 until it was sold in the 1970’s.
Dom was a bi-vocational minister and for 55 years worked as a masonry contractor, creating homes, office buildings, churches and memories as he built integrity and character in his employees and co-workers.
“I remember Dad dropping his head and muttering to himself when things weren’t working out,” said Jerry, Dom’s youngest son. “When I asked why he was talking to himself he said he was praying. Sometimes he would just start singing, ‘This world is not my home I’m just a-passing through.’ He rarely lost his temper.”
In his twilight years Dom recognized the importance of leaving a written legacy and began to write his memoirs. When he was 85 years old he wrote “The Stigliano Story”, a complete unfolding of his family and their journey to America. At the age of 89 he wrote “God’s Been Faithful”, wherein he describes his family’s conversion to Christianity. Remembering the details came easily to Dominick as he recounted names, dates, locations, and circumstances.
While in his retirement years, Dom taught Sunday school at Niles Christian Assembly in Niles, OH, sat on the church board, led a Bible study at the local nursing home, preached occasionally, and never missed a prayer meeting. If the church doors were open, Dom and his faithful wife Eva were there helping, supporting, and blessing. He held many positions in the church over the years and his love of the Word kept him not only teaching, but reading as well. Every morning he and Eva enjoyed their time together with the Lord. Together they held each family member up in prayer. Local and global concerns were always mentioned, as well.
Dominick loved to discuss the Lord and His goodness. His contentment, peace and joy radiated Jesus Christ.
When the family convened on November 20, 2009, the Dominick stories began to flow. None could be told without a smile, a tear, and glory to God.
“Dad came to me about four years ago,” said Vincent, Dom’s eldest son. “He handed me a paper and said, ‘Now don’t let your mother see this. She gets upset when I talk about dying. It’s what I want for my homegoing celebration’. He said he wanted it to be a celebration and not a sad event because he would be happily with his Lord.”
So with Dom’s directions, the plans for his homegoing celebration began to take shape. He wanted many old hymns to be sung. He wanted his cousin, Ty Sabella to sing the Lord’s Prayer, which he so sweetly did with grace and dignity. He wanted the last chapter of “God’s Been Faithful” to be read. Chapter 27, “My Last Move” simply provides his change of address and ends with John 14:1-3. “I’m looking forward to making my last move to my Father’s house. I have been sending material for 75 years. I expect a beautiful mansion . . .”
The young people took Grampa’s wishes and ran with them. Grandchildren Laura and Sami Yacoub presented a video of Dominick’s life. Under the direction of granddaughters Kristen Embry and Melissa Shaker, nearly the entire family gathered on the platform at Niles Christian Assembly to sing Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Rise”. With Dom’s nine-year-old great-granddaughter, Maddy Thompson singing the last verse, it seemed his legacy was complete. Dom’s love of Christ went to the fourth generation, and will surely continue. The day was a joyous celebration of God’s goodness and Christ’s salvation.
Dom’s Dash was full of God’s unconditional love for everyone he met. Dom’s Dash was thick with Christian heritage. Dom’s Dash was the growth of Christianity in the Stigliano family, the perpetuation of Christ’s compassion and mercy, and the foundation of a God-centered existence for generations to come. That’s what Dom did with his Dash.