East Lyme - Michael Anthony Giannattasio, 52, of East Lyme, went to be with our Lord on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, after a brief but courageous battle with cancer.
Mike was born in Summit, N.J. on Aug. 7, 1960. Growing up in Bridgewater, N.J., Mike enjoyed playing Pop Warner football, hunting and fishing, and being with his neighborhood friends. Mike attended Bridgewater West High School where he played center on the football team and was involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He spent his summers on Long Beach Island, N.J. and Lake Wallenpaupack, Pa. He also worked with his father and uncle in home construction, which may be where he developed his love of engineering.
Mike graduated from Bridgewater West High School in 1978 and attended the University of Rhode Island where he earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering as well as his professional engineers license. Mike enjoyed playing rugby at URI and through rugby he met his close friend George McBride who encouraged Mike in his spiritual journey. As a result, Mike received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and was part of the Navigator campus ministry. It is at URI where he met his beloved wife of 28 years, Patty (Doolittle) Giannattasio. They were married in Milford, on Oct. 6, 1984 and settled in southeastern Conn., where they started their family. It was with great joy that they welcomed their dear daughters, Rebecca Leah McCoy (husband, Keith, child, Caleb Michael) and Molly Megan. Mike's love for his family was evident to all who met him. He enjoyed his daughters and son-in-law tremendously, pursuing outdoor adventures, traveling and exploring new places together, cooking, attending many performances and games, and watching football as a family. He was always generous with his great big bear hugs.
Mike and Patty attend Groton Bible Chapel in Groton, where Mike served as an elder in the church. His greatest joy was talking with people about the love of God and how to have a personal relationship with Him. Mike used his gift of hospitality frequently, enjoying having people over for meals and Bible studies. Conversation topics would typically include the joys of gardening and his fig trees, to his dogs, and his pride in his Italian heritage and his family near and far. Mike always found a way to make others feel welcome and at ease.
Professionally, Mike was director of public works for the Town of East Lyme, where he oversaw several departments including public works, engineering, building maintenance, and the water and sewer departments. He was fondly referred to as "Mike G" amongst his colleagues and was best known for his big smile, kind ways, and gentle but firm guidance. Mike has left a legacy within the town, and in addition to maintaining and developing systems to protect the town's infrastructure, he can be credited for overseeing the construction process for numerous town enhancement projects including: The Streetscape on Main St., the new public works facility on Capitol Drive, the New McCook's bathhouse, the Regional Water Interconnection with New London, and the reconstruction of Walnut Hill Road, Upper Walnut Hill Road, and Holmes Road. Even as hurricane Sandy did its best to tear East Lyme apart, all of the people that worked for Mike used the skills and dedication that they had learned under Mike's guidance to open and rebuild roads, clear trees, keep our drinking water and sewer infrastructure operating without electricity, and bring the Town back to normal as quickly as possible. Mike will be sorely missed, but we may take comfort in knowing that the wisdom and guidance he imparted on others will continue to enhance the town of East Lyme.
With grateful hearts, the family wishes to recognize the extraordinary care and compassion that Mike received from Dr. Benjamin Newton, Margaret Haire, and the entire staff at Oncology and Hematology Associates in New London. To the nurses in the ER and on the 6th floor at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, you made our family feel loved with your sensitivity to us and skilled care for Mike. In addition, we greatly appreciated your frequent inquiries about the arrival of our new grandson, Caleb. You are forever in our hearts and prayers.
He is survived by his mother, Marlene (Moertl) Giannattasio. The eldest of four siblings, Mike is survived by his sister, Lisa (Giannattasio) Torpey (husband, Kevin, children, Connor and Lila); brother, Paul Giannattasio (Karen, children, Alexis, Joseph, and Maxwell) and brother, Andrew Giannattasio (Tracy, children, Grace, Jake, Bella, and Camilla). In addition, Mike leaves behind his Doolittle and McGowan in-laws; and many nieces and nephews who will miss him dearly.
He is predeceased by his father, Anthony Michael Giannattasio.
A private memorial service will be held for immediate family on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. We welcome all to come to the Groton Bible Chapel at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, to celebrate the abundant life of Mike Giannattasio.
As an engineer, Mike frequently spoke of his desire to someday use his skill and knowledge to provide clean water for those who need it; as a believer in Jesus Christ, he desired that others would find the "living water" available through faith in Christ. In that spirit and in lieu of flowers, we encourage you to make a donation to the "Groton Bible Chapel - Wells for Haiti" fund, 66 Toll Gate Road, Groton, CT 06340. In this way, his desire will be fulfilled.
John 7:38 "Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them."
Published in The Day from Nov. 2 to Nov. 8, 2012