It is, of course, a rite of passage that we grieve the loss of another life, and more so when the departed are close to us.
But when an entire community mourns, the realization sets in we have lost not only loved ones but irreplaceable pillars that stood out because they did so much more than merely live amongst us — they made our lives better.
Bonnie Bistrian Krupinski and Ben Krupinski were not the boldfaced Hamptons types the tabloids made them out to be. She grew up in overalls on bulldozers; he banged nails and climbed across roofs. They made a living the hard way, and they never forgot those roots.
Yes, that was Ben who donated his services renovating the Coast Guard Life-Saving Station, the Ladies’ Village Improvement Society’s Bargain Box Thrift Shop, and so many others.
Yes, that was Bonnie making those donations to the pantries and charities. There was more, though. Much more. People who needed help, be it food, a job, shelter, a second chance — they found guardian angels that cared and helped and said no more about it.
They were both fans of good food and music. Every now and then you would find them dining with some instantly recognizable music icon. But it would invariably be in the back of one of their restaurants, away from the stargazers and the paparazzi.
Ostentatious wasn’t in their vocabulary. Public displays of wealth and power were abhorrent behavior to them. You got what you saw: hard-working people from good, hearty stock that could be tough as nails in business and, at the same time, nurturing and caring in everyday life.
They will be more than just missed; we will never be able to replace them.