As a youth growing up in West New York, NJ., Joseph Guardiano (1931 – 2017), wanted most to see the world and learn a lot – and so he did. The Air Force took him to England, and to Savannah, GA, where in spare time he earned an AA at Armstrong College. The GI Bill paid for his education at Columbia College, NYC, and his Master’s at Columbia University’s School of International Affairs, where he met and married classmate Janet.
His career as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) sent him and his family to live in Chad, Niger, Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, Zaire (Congo), and Senegal. He also spent 2 years in Rome on loan to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
Joe retired to Cape Coral after serving 20 years. When USAID asked him to return on contract, he and Jan moved to Mauritania, on the Sahara Desert, for 2 years. Back in the States, Joe earned his PhD in Geography (a field he chose because it covers nearly all aspects of human organization) at Clark University at age 60.
He retired again to Cape Coral and later, Fort Myers. Bitten by the political bug, he became an avid volunteer for his newly chosen political party in the 1990’s, eventually serving as county chair for 2 years. When schedule permitted, he took on short-term USAID projects to Egypt, Bratislava, etc., and teaching a series of 3-week courses to USAID officers in Latin America. Meanwhile, Edison College and FGCU met his own craving for learning. Oldest in class (including professors), he worked his way through several layers of calculus, and enjoyed literature and Florida geography courses well into his 70’s.
Those who knew him will remember Joe for his endless curiosity, his energy, and most of all his wit. His was a life well lived, and he was fortunate enough to live his dream—seeing the world—while in service to others. Joe is survived by his wife Jan; their sons Greg, John, and Jeb and Jeb’s wife Gail; his sister Sylvia and brother-in-law Frank; and his ten nieces and nephews. His brother John and sister-in-law Pat predeceased him.