Hundreds of people touched by the life of Martin Capodice, a Midwesterner who settled in New Hampshire and became a government analyst, volunteer athletics coach, accomplished amateur cook and devoted champion of the Capitol Center for the Performing Arts in Concord.
Speakers remembered his love for family, baseball, well-chosen vegetables and the arts. They talked of his devotion to the Capitol Center and to New Hampshire’s arts community.
Several of Capodice’s friends spoke of the relationships Capodice forged with people he met — from the strong mutual bond he had with his wife, media personality and activist Arnie Arnesen, to his love for his children and for the grandchild he knew would share his name, but who would not be born until six weeks after Capodice’s death.
Professionally, Capodice was a statistical analyst for the state of New Hampshire. His avocations included working with children and serving for years as volunteer house manager for the Capitol Center.
Dennis Lommen, an evangelical Christian preacher, talked of his friendship with Capodice, an avowed atheist and how their shared experiences and philosophies of life were not muted by the world of differences between them on religion.
“We’re talking about the kind of relationships Marty had, we’re not talking about the car he drove or how much money he had or other material things,” Lommen said. “Those are necessary, but not as important as relationships. Marty knew that.”
Lommen also read letters from parents of players he coached on elementary school basketball teams.
“Marty has touched our family,” one family wrote. “He has taught us the value of giving to the greater community, he has inspired us with his thoughtful words and has been an example that I hope we can follow.”
Arnesen recalled watching, with her husband during his final illness, the eulogy given by television sports announcer Bob Costas, a St. Louis native, for baseball great Stan Musial, a St. Louis Cardinal who was Capodice’s favorite baseball player.
“Hank Aaron once said I didn’t just like Stan Musial, I wanted to be like him,” Costas had said.
Arnesen said people whose lives were touched by Martin Capodice felt the same way about him.
“I heard the same sentiment expressed by doctors and professors and mail carriers and ushers,” Arnesen said. “They didn’t just like Marty, they wanted to be like him; he had become his hero.”
Capodice, 71, died on Oct. 31, of cancer and was cremated. Arnesen said she honored the wish he made in his living will, to place the ashes in envelopes and give them to family members and friends “with instructions to take them to a party, a play, a concert, a hike, anything wonderful.”