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HSA Mourns the Passing of Victor Grimaldi, HSA Webmaster and Administrative Assistant

Victor Grimaldi, 56, died May 29, 2018 after a lifelong courageous battle with AMN, a progressive degenerative nerve disease that forced him to use a wheelchair since his late 20’s. Victor was a graduate of Northern Illinois University and worked as an Electrical Engineer and Website designer.

Victor was Jim Gatacre’s Administrative Assistant and HSA’s Webmaster for over 7 years (2007-2015). His contributions are immeasurable. He and Jim communicated almost daily building an incredible website that enables HSA’s training and certification programs to be used seamlessly worldwide. So complex is the website that 10 Students & 2 Professors at the University of California Irvine computer science department have only begun to re-code his work into modern coding.

Victor, HSA Advanced Diver A-0481, was Certified in 1994 as a B-level Open Water Scuba Diver, and then Victor took the challenge further and ‘learned’ the HSA Life Saving Skills required for A-level certification. In 2014 he traveled to Canada to earn his HSA Advanced certification, in the St. Lawrence River, from Hubert Chretien (CD23-0820). He was also Nitrox Certified and was one of a very few wheelchair dependent divers to earn a Dry Suit certification for cold water diving. Victor completed over 200 dives around the world from the Florida Keys to Bonaire and Fiji. His favorite was Bonaire and that was where he met Jim Gatacre in 2006.

Victor’s final wish is to have his ashes spread in the warm waters surrounding Bonaire. His family is currently making the arrangements.

Gatacre’s Memories: Victor calls me, “I figured out a way to get up on my roof, and I fixed our air conditioner.” Pat and I stop by to visit Victor & and his wife Adriane at their home. Victor gives us a tour “I dug the hole and planted that tree” “I built this pond for Aflac (their duck)”. And he fixes us a great meal, his homemade pasta, tomato and meat sauce, delicious!

Victor was also a Foster Father for 10 foster children. We’re on the phone talking business, Victor calls out to one of the kids, “no you can’t watch television until you finish your homework, bring it to me when you’re done.” We met 5 of those kids, and they were precious & well behaved. What good luck they had finding Victor & Adriane.

HSA’s first Website was built in 1990 by Don Lively (HSA B-0223). Then Pat Tonsing (HSA C-0141) took the helm before John Visicaro (HSA B-0865) volunteered his talents from 2003 – 2007. John convinced Gatacre to digitize the HSA Membership, but it would be Victor who would take the HSA website to the professional level it is today. In its long history the HSA Website has acquired the distinction of being the only dive Website built, maintained and upgraded entirely by HSA divers with disabilities.

Rest in peace my friend, you are in the memory of the HSA Members worldwide, and thought of almost daily as I use the amazing website you built. Cheers Jim