Joe Acito
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HIDDEN VALLEY, Ind. – Joe Acito enjoyed his time as a student at Elder High School so much that after he earned his teaching degree in 1968, he returned and devoted the rest of his life to running a classroom of his own.

""He loved it here,"" said Tom Otten, Elder's principal. ""For the last 16 years, he was our alumni director, so the 17,000 living alumni know him, too. He loved the kids, the camaraderie. The parents, the grads - it's what we call the Elder family. It's very supportive of all that happens here.""

The longtime English teacher, 66, died Thursday at Good Samaritan Hospital after collapsing at his Hidden Valley, Ind., home while getting ready for work Tuesday morning, Otten said. He suffered a cardiac arrest, family members said.

He had planned to retire at the end of this school year.

He was born in Cincinnati March 19, 1945, at Good Samaritan Hospital to Peter Acito, a union printer who worked for the Enquirer, and Carolyn Acito, a homemaker.

He grew up in Cincinnati and graduated from Elder High School in 1963. He went to Xavier University, where he earned a master's in education and a fellowship before he began teaching at Elder in 1968.

Once in front of the chalkboard, he quickly established a reputation as a popular and excellent English instructor. He had a knack for relating lessons about grammar and literature to everyday teenage life, Otten said.

He was especially talented in mustering excitement among teenage boys for the sometimes perplexing works of William Shakespeare.

""Some people have it, some people don't,"" Otten said. ""Joe had it in spades. God gave him the gift, and he developed it. He was one of those extraordinary teachers who had the ability to connect with the kids to get them excited. We have high school boys here waiting in line to sign up for Shakespeare.''

Mr. Acito taught mostly seniors, but juniors and even freshman could take his elective Shakespeare course. Mr. Acito would explain the complicated sonnets and plays, sometimes showing film versions. ""He just brought it to life,"" Otten said.

Trevor ""T.C."" Hamilton, a 2004 Elder graduate, said Mr. Acito inspired him to read more and to write.

""He changed my life more than any person,"" Hamilton said. ""Mr. Acito taught me that it was fun to read. I think I never would have gone to college for English/Journalism if it wasn't for him.""

Hamilton, who has a bachelor's in journalism from the University of Cincinnati, lives in Price Hill and is an aspiring novelist. Mr. Acito critiqued parts of his earliest manuscripts, Hamilton said.

""His classes are still with me today, more than any other classes I've had,"" Hamilton said.

Dino DiStasi, owner of Gabby's Café in Wyoming, was a cousin of Mr. Acito. He said Mr. Acito would often arrive with at Gabby's with an entourage of friends, grab a table and hang out all afternoon, talking, eating and debating sports, DiStasi fondly recalled.

""We always had fun,"" DiStasi said. ""I would have loved to have seen him every day. He remembered everybody. He was very easy to consider a friend for anybody. We were all lucky we knew him.""

Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Fran; a son, Tony Acito of Monfort Heights; two daughters, Gina Fieler of Miami Heights and Anne Acito of Westwood; a brother, Don Acito of Miami Heights; a sister, Pam Baker in Delhi Township. He also is survived by grandson Andrew and granddaughters Alexandra, Mary, Emily and Carly.

Visitation will be 9 a.m. Monday at Schaeper Center, Elder High School, 4005 Glenway Ave. A funeral Mass will follow at 1 p.m. at Holy Family Church, 814 Hawthorne Ave.

Memorials: Joe Acito Scholarship Fund, at Elder High School , 3900 Vincent Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45205.

Written by Jennifer Baker | jbaker@enquirer.com and Denise Smith Amos | damos@enquirer.com
Published in The Cincinnati Enquirer from Mar. 25 to Mar. 26, 2011.
Memories & Condolences
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24 entries
May 7, 2011
A good man. Joe was a classmate and friend of my brother Mike. Mike always spoke well of Joe. My condolences to the Acito Family. Pat Lambert EHS 57
Pat Lambert
April 6, 2011
Just returned home to visit the folks and learned of Joe's passing. He and I were class mates and good friends in the class of 63. My heart is sad for the loss. Although I have not seen him since then it seems like just yesterday. I will keep his family in my prayers.
John Becker
April 1, 2011
So sorry to hear of your loss Tony and family. You will be in our prayers.
Matt & Brigid Hoffman
March 30, 2011
Although I had not seen Joe for many years, Paul Daugherty's article reminded me of the fun-loving, generous person I knew from my Elder days. My prayers go out to his family.
Brian Greve
March 29, 2011
Sorry for your loss Pam, Joe was a great guy.

Jim Harding
March 29, 2011
Joe was a great fun loving guy. He was purple thru and thru and will be missed. Class of 1963 will miss the lunches they shared. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you Fran and the rest of the family. What a sad time for all of Elder and all the people who loved and admired Joe.
Sorry we were not in town to attend the services.

With great Sympathy,

George and Betty Schaefer
March 29, 2011
My thoughts and prayers are with the Acito family. It's been many years since we spent time together, but those memories will always bring a smile, a story or two, and now a tear. I'm truly sorry for your loss.
Roger Stenger
March 29, 2011
My prayers are with all of the Acito family. Mr. Acito was a great person and teacher.
Ray Broxterman
March 28, 2011
Please accept my heartfelt sympathy. Psalm 23. You are in my prayers.
March 28, 2011
Thoughts and prayers to the Acito family. He was a great man who touched many many lives. He will be greatly missed!
Terri Crofton
March 27, 2011
I first met Mr. Acito through my father from there involvement with the Sports Stag and attending games at the The Pit on Friday nights prior to my years at Elder and meeting a man like Joe made my decision easier to attend Elder not only did I enjoy Joe as a teacher but as someone to look up to and a friend. Most of all Joe taught all of to become respectful young men for ourselves, our families, to our religion, aqnd our school. I can't say enough how much Joe meant to myself and my family. He will be missed by all but also we all are better for having the opportunity to have known him. I would like to take this opportunity to let Joe's family know that our thoughts and prayers are with them. We all loved Joe for everything he gave to us.
From: Joe Baarlaer and Family (Molly, Chelsea, Morgan, and Sam)
Joe Baarlaer
March 26, 2011
Fran & family, Jerry and I will miss seeing Joe at the golf course and we will keep you all in our prayers. We are better people for having known Joe.
GOD BLESS,
Sandy & Jerry Wuest
Hidden Valley
March 26, 2011
Dear Fran, I miss you and Joe a lot and I am sorry that our paths didn't cross in these later years. It was always great to be with you from the earliest days when Gene and I were double-dating with you and Joe. Later, when you brought the kids to visit us in New Orleans and Washington DC, special memories were made. I can still see Joe talking to "the little guy" who he just knew was inside the machine dispensing tickets for the DC Metro. And my girls recall sitting on our sofa with Tony and Gina while Joe regaled them with a bedtime story, "The Wild Pig of Delhi." Good times with good people. I send my love, prayers and deepest sympathy.
Louise
Louise Miller
March 26, 2011
Our thoughts and prayers are with you on your loss. May GOD comfort you. Ron Woyan and family
March 26, 2011
The Acito family are fine people and we are proud to claim them as friends. We extend our deepest sympathy to the family.
Jack & Louise Phelps
March 26, 2011
Joe was a standup guy and a life long friend. He gave much to all he knew. The Purple world is certainly a better place because of Joe. Our deep prayers for Fran and Joe's family as well as the extended Elder team.
Robert & Joan Sucher
March 26, 2011
Although his legacy will always be Elder, we cannot forget the many Festivals and Spaghetti Dinners we worked together at San Antonio on Queen City when we were the "Younger Generation".
Richard Gargana
March 26, 2011
Dear Joe thanks for being who you are and inspiring so many you have touched. I graduated in 1963 with you from Elder and was the beneficiary of so many "hey Dudes' notes about all of the class getting together. Your enthusiasm was always on your sleeve. Rest in peace and you are elected to start the class of '63 alumni organization upstairs - we're coming Joe just give us a little time!
Frank Klaus
March 26, 2011
I remember Joe with great affection and respect. My sr. year philosophy/lit class with him, class '72, was the best class I ever had. A couple years ago I had the good fortune to spend some time with Joe after Hasselhoff's art retrospective. He treated me like a good friend even though it had been decades since we'd last met. His warm, inclusive personality will be greatly missed.

My deepest sympathy to the Acito family and all of Joe's friends.

Rick Gray,
Liberty Township, OH
March 26, 2011
I built elders sport compx schaper center and remolded much of elders buildings Joe would come to me and ask for favers witch he got . He became a good friend Many are going to miss him
Ron Gagen Ft. myers Fl,
March 25, 2011
An inspiring teacher and a good human. We will miss him.
Ron Iori
March 25, 2011
We will keep your family in our prayers, my mom and dad Joe and Milly Raniero were great friends of Pete and Carly.

Beth Raniero Yutze
Beth Yutze
March 25, 2011
JUST A GREAT GUY WHO WE ENJOYED HAVING AT OUR GOLF COURSE. YOU WILL BE MISSED BY ALL OF US HERE
MARK MARTIN
March 25, 2011
I was so sorry to hear of your loss. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help at this time.
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