Joseph A. Abruscato Ph.D.

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JOSEPH A. ABRUSCATO, Ph.D. SOUTH BURLINGTON - Joseph A. Abruscato, 68, of So. Burlington died on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in Fletcher Allen Health Care following a courageous battle with Parkinson's disease. He was born in Jersey City, NJ on Feb. 10, 1941 the son of the late Nunzio and Josephine (Pontillo) Abruscato. He was married to Jean Rae Latelle, the love of his life, on July 6, 2003. Joe was a nationally prominent educator and author of professional books in the field of science teaching. He retired from The University of Vermont in 2006 with the rank of Professor Emeritus after a distinguished career that began there in 1969. Joe received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Trenton State College in science education, physics and chemistry and his Ph.D. in science education and curriculum development from The Ohio State University. At The University of Vermont, Joe was the chief architect of enhancing the Elementary Teacher Preparation Program there with articulated campus-based pedagogy with public school practica. Joe was a highly popular and engaging professor, always attentive to the needs of students. Anticipating the future, he brought computers into UVM's teacher preparation programs prior to the technology wave found in schools today. An earlier collaboration with colleagues created the American Primary Education Program (APEX), a child-centered teacher preparation curriculum that achieved national recognition for excellence. While Joe was widely respected in Vermont, his fame reached throughout the United States with his publication of high quality, content rich and practical books for K-6 children and teachers. Always able to create great titles he wrote such books as, "Whole Earth Cosmos," "Butterflies and Bytes," and "Whizbangers and Wonderments." Most prominent were his widely adopted Holt K-6 Science Textbook Series, and for teacher preparation his "Teaching Children Science." Joe taught summers at The University of Hawaii at Hilo, where he developed curriculum utilizing the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center and taught science on Hawaii Public Television. Joe is survived by his wife Jean Rae Latelle of So. Burlington; his daughters Anne Marie Abruscato of Las Vegas, Nev. and Elizabeth Hotchkiss of Olney, Md.; his grandchildren Catie and Gregory Hotchkiss; his sister RoseAnn Webster and husband Charles of Little Egg Harbor, N.J.; his brother John Abruscato and wife Cindy of Oakhurst, N.J.; and by several nieces and nephews. Joe's family extends their heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the staff at Pillsbury Manor South, Shepardson 4 at FAHC, and Dr. Stephen Baad. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 11 a.m. in the Ready Funeral & Cremation Service South Chapel, 261 Shelburne Rd., Burlington. Interment will follow in Resurrection Park Cemetery. Visiting hours will be held on Friday from 6:00 to 8:00pm at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Joe's memory may be made to the National Parkinson Foundation, Inc. 1501 N.W. 9th Ave. Bob Hope Rd., Miami, FL 331361494 or online at To send online condolences to the family please visit

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Mar. 19, 2009
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