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Carman Cluna

By Annette Dreitzer Phillips

I relatively grew up around Carman and his family, and I knew him my whole life.  For those of you who knew him as the tough-as-nails drill instructor who made people cringe in fear, I had the privilege of knowing him personally.  At the diner, where we would go after almost every St. Ignatius rehearsal in Hicksville, NY, my father and Carman used to kid around, tell jokes and make me laugh all the time.  He really had a great sense of humor, and was a lot of fun after he put down his famous whistle and the dayís work was done.  I will always remember him as being extremely intelligent, highly creative and someone with the utmost sense of morals and principles.  He truly deserved the level of respect he demanded from corps members. 

        I remember all of the wonderful parties and BBQís my parents and I attended at his home in Farmingdale - I looked forward to them because we always had such a good time there.  The bar in his den was a living tribute to his years in drums corps; a beautiful oil painting hung on one wall while the others were adorned with many well-deserved plaques and awards. 

In my grief at the time, I donít know if I ever properly thanked him for the moving, heartfelt eulogy he wrote and delivered at my fatherís funeral.  It had been such a shock to all of us, and Carman was right there at our side through all of it.  He and his wife, Brenda, had raced to the hospital to be with my mother and I, and he somehow managed to comfort us, even through his own impossible grief.  I will always be grateful to him for that.  Even now, several years later, it is difficult to believe he is gone.  Carman and my father were the best of friends for many years, and both were taken from us before their time.  But the fact that so many people were influenced by them both during their lifetime, and continue to think of them with love and admiration, is a wonderful and lasting tribute.  And when we are sad because they are no longer with us, at least we can take comfort in the belief that they are in Heaven together.