Monday, 3 June 2013
Pastorelli, Mr Rocco
I would like to pay tribute to the life and the community contribution of Rocco Pastorelli, a proud and parochial Western Australian who died prematurely in Perth on Sunday, 17 March 2013. Rocco battled a wretched illness with courage and stoicism. He was a man of many grounded passions: family, friends, social justice, the Labor movement and soccer. He adored his wife and family and fiercely protected them as best he could from the pending tragedy of his life being cut short.
It is fair to say that he was loved amongst his Labor colleagues, especially the distinguished former Premier of Western Australia Dr Geoff Gallop. Dr Gallop says of Rocco Pastorelli:
In my time with the Labor Party we tried to be very professional in the way we did things and Rocco was the personification of professionalism.
He also says:
It was my great privilege to work with him and to get to know Rocco initially as Leader of the Opposition and then as Premier.
Over a decade, Rocco worked very closely with me and he became a very good workmate and friend.
Then he went on to say Rocco was:
… a great psychologist. He would work out my moods when he met with me in the mornings and would act appropriately. We would discuss religion, politics, family; the kids growing up … our families became very close and shared our experiences.
Rocco Pastorelli was Dr Gallop's driver, but he was much more than that. He was more than that to Dr Gallop and the entire community in which he lived. He was an unselfish contributor to his church, the Labor movement and community groups. He kept working to the very end, winning the contract to build a church days before he was hospitalised with his illness. His support for the Labor Party never waivered and he campaigned while sick for the last state election held on March 9 this year.
Born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth, Rocco completed a diploma in architectural drafting and served in the regular Army between 1974 and 1983. He served as a draftsman/engineer in the 22nd Construction Regiment and travelled to and served in Malaysia for six months. Later he completed his building ticket.
More recently, he worked for three Labor premiers as their driver, and built a reputation as a committed, reliable and supportive friend to many people. He was larger than life, and there are many people who, just like me, are deeply saddened by his loss. Maybe it is because he put others' needs first. He was such a generous volunteer, helping charities, community groups, schools and his local church. Nothing was too hard, no request too difficult, and there was always a smile on his face.
Foremost, though, was Rocco's dedication and passion for his family—his wife, Paolo, and his children Anthony, Marici and Stephen. Rocco's passing deeply saddened a whole community of people with whom he was in contact over the years. That was reinforced when many hundreds of people from all works of life gathered on 23 March this year for Rocco's funeral at St Joseph's Church in Subiaco, his service at Karrakatta Cemetery Crematorium and his wake at Hyde Park. There were many people there to pay tribute to a man who gave more than he took, who left the world better for having been in it. Rocco Pastorelli was, in every sense of the word, a true philanthropist. His passion was people.