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Voters got it right: DePanfilis is a great guy, says his daughter

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Letter to the Editor:

No more election, no more sign posting, no more letters to the editor, just a Thank You note from a very grateful daughter.

On Nov. 4, my father was fortunate enough to be re-elected to the position he loves more than I could ever explain.

Over the last few months I have had the pleasure of reading through dozens of letters supporting my dad, as a judge and as a person, and as I did, I thought to myself, “I should write a letter too! I need everyone to know who their Probate Judge is, why he is great at his job and why I am his biggest fan.” I am not doing this because I am his daughter or because I have been fortunate enough to have him as such a positive role model in my life, I am doing it because he is the right man for this job, he loves doing this job and the people he serves should know it.

When I graduated from college, there were a few years in which I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, “just like my dad.” That idea spawned a great deal of hard work. As someone who from a young age worked job after job earning his own way, it was important to my dad that I earn and learn my way from the bottom up, beginning with various entry-level filing and administrative tasks.

The most memorable day of my internship was the day I accompanied him to Probate. I will never forget that the day! That was the moment I understood why my father says every day that he loves what he does. That was the day I started to appreciate why he always told me to find something I loved doing and to give it my all.

That day at the Probate Court I realized that there was so much more to my dad than I ever knew. Later, he opened a box and showed me dozens of letters from children and families whose lives he had changed, thanking him not just for facilitating their cases but more for the personal interest, respect and compassion he showed while doing so. I will never forget the joy in my father’s eyes looking through those letters and the pride I felt in him.

The variety of cases he oversees on a daily basis range from heartbreaking to joyous and every emotion in between. The way my father handles them with such personal benevolence and professional due diligence are only a few of the reasons why I am his biggest fan.

Growing up a part of such a large, deep-rooted Norwalk family was never an easy task. Being the baby of the family I, of course, was teased and picked on, but more than that, I was loved unconditionally from everyone who knew my family. I was not loved just because I was my dad’s daughter, I was loved and treated with respect because those are qualities he has always shown to others, both inside and outside his courtroom.

My brothers and I have my parents to thank for teaching us the values of compassion and integrity are invaluable, friendship and family are irreplaceable and a hard work ethic is critical. I take those values and lessons with me every day when I also enter a job that is emotionally and physically difficult, but know that I am making a difference and know how much I love it. For this all I am forever thankful.

Being born and raised in Norwalk, people would regularly recognize my last name and ask, “Is your dad Tony? What a great guy!” As a kid, I would usually roll my eyes out of embarrassment. Now, however, I am proud to say, “Yes, that is my dad … and, yes, he is a great guy!”

Thank you to all who helped in my dad’s campaign, to those who voted and most importantly to those of you who know my father and have shared your feelings with others.   You can rest assured that no one understands the importance of the Probate Court and loves serving in it more than my father. The right man in the right seat!

Kelly DePanfilis

Comments

4 responses to “Voters got it right: DePanfilis is a great guy, says his daughter”

  1. Piberman

    What a lovely letter. For a widely admired true “public servant” and role model.

  2. Kelly

    Thank you Piberman for your very nice response and thank you nancy. I was honored to have the opportunity express my gratitude someway. (Hopefully my dad is not too embarrassed or humbled by this)

  3. Rick McQuaid

    Kelly, what a beautiful tribute . As I have said many times before I would not be where I am today if not for the Depanfilis family. This became even more important to me as a Dad this past year as your Dad guided us along with his incredible staff in adopting Savannah. God Bless the Depanfilis family and Thank you and your family for sharing the Judge with all of us.

  4. Kelly

    Thank you so much Rick for your kind response. I will be sure to share it with my dad. I love to hear the stories that people share with their experience with him. Believe it or not, being a nurse I have witnessed it first hand (and now have more respect for him if that’s ever possible) god bless you for your adoption, I know how much he loves doing those! And I feel blessed to be able to share my dad, he’s one of a kind. Thank you again.

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