Janey Way Memories #95: Tragedy Strikes Janey Way

By Marty Relles

Thursday, April 4, 2013, started out like a normal day for me.  I woke up early, fed the cats and made coffee for Barbara and me.  Later, after doing my chores, I drove to La Bou on Howe Ave. to meet my aunts, Kay and Alice, for coffee and a croissant.  My brother John was there too on that day.  After one hour and one half of chit chatting, we headed off in different directions.
Then, when I arrived home, I received a cryptic text from my brother, which brought darkness to an otherwise sun shiny day:  “Denis Tomassetti killed last night in auto accident.”  I texted John back immediately saying, “no way”, but sadly it was true.  Minutes later, I contacted our mutual friend Tom Hart to confirm John’s text.  In a broken voice, Tom said, “yes, it is true; Denis was killed last night on the way home from work.”
This shows how fleeting life can be.  Here one minute, gone the next.
I have known Denis Tomassetti pretty much all my life.  He entered the world in the year I moved to Janey Way, 1952.  He was part of a bunch of kids we called the younger Janey Way boys:  Denis, the three Johns (Tomassetti, Relles and Ducray) Rick Thomsen and Tom Hart.  I remember watching them play Senior Little League baseball games on the field behind our house where St. Francis High School now stands.  I watched and thought, “these little guys have sure grown up, and they are good.”
Years later, after we all came back from serving in the military, I attended some rock concerts (the thing he really loved to do) with Denis.  I recall seeing the Kinks at Sacramento State College and Bob Dylan at Cal Expo.  We always had a great time.  He had an encyclopedic knowledge of contemporary music as well as an incredible sense of humor.  Going places with Denis, was always fun.
We played golf together too:  Denis, Tom Hart, my dad and I.  Dad took golf seriously and was known to hurl a club after a bad shot, but not with Denis in the foursome.  Denis would have needled him too much for that. Again, we always had a lot of fun.
More recently (over the last decade) Denis enlisted me to play with him and Tom Hart in an annual POW (prisoners of wives) golf tournament.  He and Tom usually picked me up at my home on Friday afternoon, and then we drove up the hill to Lake Tahoe.  It made for a great weekend:  golf, gambling, a few beers and good friends.  Who could ask for more?
Denis won’t be playing with us this year in the POW Tournament.  All of his POW friends will miss him dearly.  Now, the great fun I had over the years with my dear friend Denis is just another heart-felt Janey Way Memory.

Happy 90th birthday, Sierra 2 Center Local nonprofit raising money to give abandoned horse a second chance at a happy home

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