Carol Kenngott-Fiorvanti of Levittown recalls her courtship with husband Jack.
I went to Island Trees High School in Levittown, where my older brothers were on the wrestling team. I enjoyed going to their matches and continued attending school matches after I graduated in 1973. Eventually, I became a teaching assistant at Island Trees and worked with the wrestling team and other high school teams over the years.
In 2002, I was at a match at Gen. Douglas MacArthur High School in Levittown when a friend formally introduced me to Jack Fiorvanti, who was officiating. I had seen Jack at other matches and was impressed by his skill. He had wrestled for Massapequa High School and began officiating in 1978.
We were both 47. He asked for my phone number and called me for a date.
Our first date was a romantic dinner at Tai Show, a Japanese restaurant in Levittown. We went on a few more wonderful dates and then parted ways. I had been divorced for several years, but Jack was newly divorced and the timing just wasn’t right for him. I remember saying to God, “If he is for me then you will bring him back.”
Eight years later, in December 2010, I was again at a match at MacArthur when I saw Jack. He was now officiating for Suffolk County high schools and quickly came over and said hello. I was so happy to see him, but I was also cautious. At the end of the match, he walked me to my car and asked: “If I ask you out will you go?” I said: “Yes.”
We went out on New Year’s Eve to Tai Show. Jack said: “I’m not going to lose you a second time.”
While we were dating, I mentioned how my mother and I attended many wrestling matches. I bet him that he would probably find us in the background of one of the photos taken of him officiating. To his shock, there we were, sitting in the stands in a picture taken years before Jack and I met.
In 2013, Jack took me to the same Japanese restaurant and proposed. We married on June 14, 2014, at Stuart Thomas Manor in Farmingdale.
Jack is a public safety officer with the Town of Hempstead. He is still officiating wrestling matches and I am still attending and sitting in the stands. He is also a touch-football official. I retired in 2017 as a drug and alcohol counselor with the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department DART Program at the Nassau County Correctional Facility.
Our extended family includes Jack’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren, and my son and daughter, daughter-in-law, son-in-law and three grandchildren.
Jack always comes home from work with a happy greeting and a smile. He has the ability to be calm with difficult people and act as a peacemaker, which makes for a great referee and husband! He is quick to lend anyone a hand and is very giving.
He encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and embrace adventures. We have traveled to Aruba, St. Lucia and the Dominican Republic, places I would not have experienced on my own. I lived in Levittown all my life, but having Jack by my side gives me courage to venture out. We are looking at locations in Georgia to retire. You can bet Jack will be looking for places to officiate wrestling in the Peach State. He makes my world exciting.— With Virginia Dunleavy