Joseph Ingardia, 91, passed away peacefully on Mar 13, 2013, at his home at The Village in Brookfield, surrounded by his family.
Joe was born in Brooklyn, NY on Oct 28, 1921, to Marcello and Vita (Bongiovanni) Ingardia, both Sicilian immigrants. He grew up in Brooklyn with his siblings and several cousins. His father's work as a stone mason sparked his interest in engineering. His parents could not afford to send him to college, but with the help of community scholarships, he was able to attend and graduate from City College of New York with a degree in structural engineering.
At a dance sponsored by Hunter College in May of 1941, Joe met the love of his life, Vincenza Pecoraro. They were married in Manhattan on Feb 20, 1944, and started their life together in Fort Worth, Texas, where Joe had his first engineering job, designing and stress-testing airplanes for the military. At the end of World War II
, he was drafted into the Army to assist veterans with civilian career placement. Joe and Vinnie were able to return to New York, and raised their children in the Bronx, Elmont L.I., and Greenwich, Conn. They moved to Brookfield in 1968.
Among the most famous projects in Joe's successful career was the monorail for the 1964 World's Fair. He loved to travel, and spoke conversational Italian, Spanish, and French. He was always fond of dogs, from his childhood buddy King, to his retirement companion, Gretchen. His many hobbies included chess, photography, still-life painting, hosting and attending tag sales, and genealogy, locating Ingardias across the U.S. and in Italy, who could all trace their roots to the small village of Paceco. In 2001, Joe coordinated a family reunion in Niagara Falls, for the Ingardia and Engardio families he had united.
Joe never forgot the assistance he received to attend college, and devoted his retirement years to giving back to the community. He brought his engineering expertise to the Appalachian Mountains, helping build homes for needy families. He volunteered on Brookfield's Zoning Commission, with the Newbury Men's Club, the Senior Center, and many other activities. He taught an afterschool chess program, and occasionally served as a substitute teacher for math and Spanish in Brookfield schools. Most recently, he taught computer skills classes for senior citizens.
Joe's greatest pride was his family. He and his beloved wife Vinnie recently celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary. He was devoted to and adored by his three children and their spouses: Jane and Larry Walker, Michael Ingardia, Susan and Bill Gabriele, and daughter-in-law Minnie Ingardia; his six grandchildren and their spouses: David Walker, Cindy Macdonald, Michael A. and Vanessa Ingardia, Eva and Keven Bartush, Julie Gabriele and Bill Haydasz, and Joanna and Matthew Burnham; his seven great-grandchildren: Samantha, Quint, Autumn, and Michael Bartush, Meredith Macdonald, and Josephine and Dillinger Ingardia; and a large extended family. He was predeceased by his brothers, Serafino, Paul, and Ernest Ingardia, and his sister Jean Renda.
Visitation will be held at the Brookfield Funeral Home, 786 Federal Road, Brookfield, on Sunday, March 17th between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00pm. A Wake Service will be held at 4:15pm.
Burial in Laurel Hill Cemetery will take place in the Spring.
The family thanks The Village of Brookfield and Bethel Health Care for their excellent service in Joe's care. They ask that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut or to Brookfield Social Services.
To light a candle please visit www.BrookfieldFuneralHome.com