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The Honolulu Advertiser



Advertiser Staff

Posted on: Tuesday, January 12, 2010

'The kindest man I have ever met'

 • Vet, youngest son were constant companions
 • Bodies of pilot, son recovered from Hawaii plane wreckage

Neighbors recalled Nicholas Palumbo as a gregarious and thoughtful man, someone who cared for their pets, and their sons and daughters in equal measure.

"He was just a really nice, friendly neighbor," said Barbara Borgnino, whose home on Gulston Street in St. Louis Heights overlooks the Palumbo home. "Whenever there was a birth in the neighborhood, he would show up at the door with flowers for the new parents."

Palumbo's love for cats was readily apparent, given the "CAT DR" personalized plate on a dark blue Lexus parked in the driveway of the family home on Alencastre Street.

Jane Ohara, whose house on Felix Street is down the hill from the Palumbo's, entrusted the care of her cats to Palumbo, who treated one of them regularly for numerous cat-fight injuries.

"I just really like him a lot," Ohara said, tears welling in the corners of her eyes.

"One of the cats used to get in fights all the time, and I would be there at the clinic getting his abscesses lanced. Finally, he just taught me how to do it myself he was just a real giving guy," Ohara said.

The O'ahu clinic where Palumbo worked with wife Suzanne Sylvester-Palumbo, also a veterinarian, is on Kapahulu Avenue, about a mile from the Palumbo house.

Karen Scharff, a family friend of the Palumbos for the past 25 years, stopped by the clinic early yesterday afternoon to pay her condolences and drop off a small plant in memory of the late veterinarian and his son.

"It's so incredibly heart-breaking, and even more so to know that (Palumbo's son) Timmy died in the crash, too," Scharff said.

"He was such a wonderful, wonderful and caring man, probably the kindest man I have ever met," she said.