In many ways the story of Theresa and Vinnie began as love at first sight. They were children living across the street from one another in a suburb just west of Boston. Vinnie, the story goes, would gaze out the window at his neighbor all the time. But when one family packed up and moved off the street, time and distance separated Theresa and Vinnie.
Then in 1949, Theresa Richard crashed a wedding when her best friend at the last moment begged her to join her at the ceremony and reception. Vincent “Vinnie” Cacace was there and when he saw his old neighbor, now a grown 18-year-old, the feelings he had for Theresa as young boy came flooding back.
Vinnie asked Theresa to dance. A year later they married, with a simple gold band as an enduring symbol of their love.
The Cacaces travelled well. They raised three boys and a girl. Vinnie was a successful beer man for Schlitz Brewing and then later, a devout Catholic who attended church daily and sold papal memorabilia.
In the mid 1970s when Vinnie was in his late 50s, he and Theresa retired in Boca Raton. Vinnie began a ministry aiming to help people released from prison to have a better chance on the outside.
He was a compassionate, forgiving and loving man. Vinnie talked endlessly about Theresa, pouring his heart out how she was the light of his life, said the couple’s daughter Cindy MacDonald.
The way MacDonald sees it her parents love for one another and partnership certainly raised the bar on how marriages should work.
“It was a really nice love story,” MacDonald said. “I’m sure they must have fought, but if they did it must have been behind closed doors because we never saw it.”
In October, Vincent’s health was rapidly failing. He had already written his obit and made arrangements for his funeral when at age 96 he left for the hospital. On his hand was his wedding band.
Days later on what would have been Vinnie and Theresa’s 71st wedding anniversary, a string on rosary beads encircled Vinnie’s hand. Missing from his hand’s fourth finger was his wedding band.
His ring was too tight to get off his finger, MacDonald said she was told by a nurse at Boca Regional Hospital where he died. And Babione Kreer Funeral Home told MacDonald her father wasn’t wearing the wedding band when his body arrived there.
A heartbroken MacDonald desperately wants a bit of her parents’ love story back.
Before Vincent died, MacDonald’s mom was diagnosed with dementia. In October, Theresa was told about Vinnie’s passing. She was also told about the ring, something MacDonald said her father never took off.
MacDonald doesn’t believe her mother understands both are now gone. “I don’t want to further upset her by telling her again,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald said she planned on wearing her father’s ring in the event her mother did not intend to.
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The ring’s monetary value is unclear, said MacDonald. “It’s the sentimental value you cannot get back.”
Reports of items missing from Boca Regional Hospital are rare. Records show there were 28 reports of missing items from that address. Jessica Desir, a spokeswoman for the Boca Raton Police Department, said many people don’t follow-up after making the report.
MacDonald did. She also called the hospital and started calling around to South Florida pawn shops. It all became overwhelming, she said.
For the first few weeks after her father’s death, MacDonald said she’d toss and turn at night unable to sleep because she kept thinking about the missing ring. She said she pray, calling on her dad to send her a sign about the ring’s whereabouts.
She is still waiting for the sign.
Eileen Kelley can be reached at 772-925-9193 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @reporterkell.