GIUFFRIDA, Louis O. (Former Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency)
The Honorable Louis O. 'Jeff' Giuffrida, of Claremont, Calif., died peacefully in his sleep on November 20, 2012, at the age of 92. Born October 2, 1920 in Middletown, son of the late Innocenzio and Rosa (Labella) Giuffrida of 36 Washington Street, Louis attended local schools, earned a B.A. degree from UConn, and a Master's degree from Boston University.
Louis began a 48-year career of service to his country at the age of 16 as a member of Middletown's 169th Infantry, Connecticut National Guard. A career military officer, Louis retired from the Regular Army with the rank of Colonel, and was later promoted twice in the State Military Reserve of California, to the rank of Major General. Louis was originally commissioned in the United States Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer in 1943 where he served in the Pacific Theater of Operations as a platoon leader and company commander until 1946. He left the Marine Corps to accept a Regular Army commission and later served with the 7th Infantry Division during the Korean Conflict. Throughout his career he held an impressive variety of command positions primarily in military police and intelligence assignments, including duty with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He left the Regular Army in 1971 and founded the California Specialized Training Institute within the Military Department of the State of California, where he directed courses in comprehensive emergency management to deal with civil disorder, terrorism, natural disaster, and incidents involving nuclear and hazardous materials.
In 1981 the United States Senate confirmed President Reagan's nomination of Mr. Giuffrida to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), with the charge to revise and improve the entire national system of planning for and managing civil emergencies of every type. Louis fulfilled that duty establishing our nation's first Integrated Emergency Management System and served as the designated Chief U.S. Delegate to NATO's Civil Emergency Planning and Civil Defense committees.
Louis resigned from the FEMA position in 1985 to establish Giuffrida International Associates to offer emergency planning and management services world-wide. Over the years he served as an advisor to universities, corporations, and governments around the world and earned an international reputation as a foremost authority on emergency management. He was the recipient of many military and civil awards including the USSR's 'Memorial Medal', Italy's 'Merito della Repubblica Italiana', and Sweden's 'Sundelin Medal', their highest civil defense award.
Despite an incredibly active and demanding professional life, Louis was always available to any family member, at any time, for any reason. He was the true patriarch of the family, all of whom relied upon his wisdom, guidance, love and care.
Louis is survived by Genevieve (Chapowicki) his loving and devoted wife of 53 years, by daughter Elena Arnett and husband Gary of Nova Scotia, daughter Luisa Jaffe and husband Saul of Claremont, CA, son John and wife Kimberly of Trophy Club, TX, son Bruno of Claremont, CA, son Matthew and wife Crystina of San Luis Obispo County, CA, 11 grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and many nephews and nieces.
Louis was predeceased by his six brothers and three sisters: Cosimo of Boston, VA; Bruno of San Diego, CA; Giulio of Middletown; Joseph of Middletown; Francis of Meriden; and John of Forest Hills, NY; Vincenza Maselli of Middletown; Josephine Alexander of Modesto, CA; and Rosa Rogers of Portland.
Mr. Giuffrida will be interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA at the convenience of his family.
Published in The Middletown Press on Dec. 19, 2012