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August 6,1936 - April 6, 2011
We are deeply saddened by the loss of a wonderful, caring, passionate and very talented man, Joe Mondello. Joe passed in the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 6 in Crossville, Tenn., at the age of 75, following complications from surgery. Joe was born on August 6, 1936 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Joe, also known as "Dr. Oldsmobile", earned an international reputation as a drag racing and the automotive performance expert, guru and master. Joe's passion for all things mechanical, and particularly improving cylinder head airflow, led him to a 54 year career as an engine builder, head porter and later, a teacher. His talents led him to work with some of the most notable race teams and fellow engine builders during the 60's and through the turn of the century. He started racing at age 13, and his professional career started in 1951 working on flat-head Fords for his own '40 Ford coupe for drag racing, as well as for other engine builders. He was nicknamed "Dr. Oldsmobile" for his highly successful developmental work on the Olds V-8 engines.
His passion for excellence lead him to establish the Mondello Technical School in 1996 in California, devoted to teaching the art of professional performance engine building and head porting design to all who came including young men and women who desired a career in the field. The school started in Paso Robles, Calif. and later moved to Crossville, Tenn. Joe's passion was for those young people in the school. He wanted them to understand what it took to be a professional in the shop and in customer relations. He also extended that passion to teaching many of them how to be a professional as a drag racer. He taught them the technical aspects of their trade (as an engine builder and as a racer) and how to interact with people. Joe is survived by his wife Mary, four children Bernard Mondello, Stephanie Mondello, Gina Ozanne, and Nica Mondello-Gomez and four grandchildren, Nicole Mondello, Ross Ozanne, Adam and Joey Gomez.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 11 to Apr. 12, 2011