Don Argo
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DON DAVID ARGO ROCKLEDGE He didnt like people calling him a genius, but they did anyway. A true academician who fully deserved the title of professor, Rockledge resident, Dr. Don David Argo, 72, passed away on Sunday, October 19, 2008, after a valiant battle against cancer. Many will remember him for his TV series of BCC math courses. By the multi-thousands, students have remembered him as the greatest teacher of mathematics they ever encountered, not only because of his gift for math, but for his inspiring nature. Few have touched the lives of so many. Born on December 28, 1935, in Stuttgart, Arkansas, Don began teaching math and coaching high school football and basketball at the age of 19 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. An avid sportsman and athlete, he played semi-pro baseball, college football, and won a Golden Gloves boxing championship. He moved to Brevard County in 1967 where he began a thirty- eight-year career as a mathematics professor at Brevard Community College, rising to the position of Department Chair of the Math/Science Department in 1992. In 1997, he received the Distinguished Educator of the Year Award from BCC. During his career, he earned a bachelors, two masters, and a doctoral degree. Don Argo had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, reading books by the hundreds, studying history and pursuing a passion for the written word. In 2001, Dons popular historical novel, Canaveral Light, which tells a poignant story of mans struggles forming a new settlement following the Civil War, was published. Highly acclaimed, this book won the Patrick Smith Award for Literature in 2002. He also received the Jefferson Davis Historical Gold Medal from the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 2006. Professor Argo was a founding member of the Space Coast Writers Guild and later served as president. In 2008, the Guild initiated the "Don Argo Florida Fiction Award" in his honor. His love of math, teaching and writing was born of his love for humanity, and a quest to guide others with his broad knowledge and unique brilliance. He will be forever remembered as a legend in his community. Don Argo was an artist, historian, humorist, musician, mentor, theorist and pilot, but above all he was a loving husband and proud, devoted father. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Kathy; four children, Kim, Kevin, Sean and Shaara, and two grandchildren, D.J. and Shelby. Services will be held Sunday, October 26th, at 2:00 p.m. at Florida Memorial Funeral Home.

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Published in FloridaToday on Oct. 23, 2008.
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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30 entries
November 21, 2008
Message to My Husband

You never asked me to marry you, you just told me that's how it would be. At first, that was the farthest thing from my mind. We seemed like such an unlikely couple. But as time passed, I began to learn who you were. As we spent more time together, a very strong affinity developed between us, and we became inseparable. We were no longer happy nor complete when we were apart.

After our marriage, we began a long adventure roaming the country on our motorcycle, sailing the rivers in our sailboat, skiing in the mountains, exploring Europe, studying, reading and learning. But our most treasured times were those spent together at home, just the two of us. Sometimes we'd share our thoughts and dreams with candlelight and soft music. Other times we sat silently enjoying the comfort of just being together.

After eleven years of marriage, we decided we wanted to join our two lives and create new life from our love. Each creation was a well-planned and orchestrated event, resulting in two beautiful, brilliant children. We were so happy and proud. We spent the next twenty years immersed in their lives, shaping and molding, creating opportunities, and reveling in our good fortune.

During this time, you were becoming somewhat of a celebrity through your BCC TV math classes. You were also busily working on your novel, Canaveral Light. We would travel up and down the coast at every opportunity, as you did research on your novel. Sometimes we grew weary from spending so much time roaming through graveyards, climbing through brush searching for destroyed home sites, exploring all the forts and battlegrounds over and over, but we knew it was your dream, therefore, it was our dream also. Your book was published and what a magnificent piece of writing it was. You spent the next several years speaking to hundreds of organizations throughout the state.

In November, 2006, we found that you had developed a cancer on your tonsil. We started treatment on our 31st anniversary. You sailed through the treatments like a trouper, hardly phased by all the harsh chemicals bombarding your body. Your spirits were high and you were optimistic. I cried every night, afraid you might be taken from me. You were so brave and strong. Then in January, on a Sunday evening, you were robbed of the one gift that helped make you the eloquent orator that you were. It broke my heart to see you struggling so hard with what had come so beautifully and naturally to you in the past.

As with every other challenge in your life, you began tackling the problem with a vengeance, working on your verbal exercises, using Brain Age on your Nintendo DS, going through speech therapy, determined to get your language abilities back. We all tried so hard to help you in every way we could. A few months later, a couple more surgeries, but we couldn't seem to win the battle.

You were my life for 35 years. I can't begin to tell you how empty I will be without you. I sense your presence in every breath and every thought. In every room, I feel you. I see all the things that made you who you were, and I treasure each one.

I want to thank you for all the joy you brought into my life. Thank you for so freely sharing your knowledge and intellectual gifts; for your generosity, love and kindness; for your unselfishness and sacrifices in trying to build our dreams; for your strength, optimism, and determination; but most of all for the two little extensions of you who will live on and carry the spark you ignited in them.

My love, "You'll be my life when I have no other, and I'll be your life when you have no other."

Yours forever and always, Katherine
Katherine Argo
November 6, 2008
Mrs. Argo and family: My family and I send our deepest sympathy for your loss.

Don taught me Trig, and Calculus at BCC in the late seventies. In the years since we ran into each other several times including at my graduation from Rollins College. He always impressed me and never forgot who I was, calling me by name every time we met after the classroom experience. The last timeI saw him was at the book store on Merritt Is Mall. I was hoping he was still teaching, as my grandson was in need of his instruction. He will be missed. He served so many with his gift of connecting with students in his special way.
Roy Bryan
November 3, 2008
Oh, Don Argo - You and you family will always be among my very favorite people in the world. Every time I saw you all out & about, it made my day. Your spirit, and kindness will always remain in my heart. You always had such kind words to me about my Father - I hope you two are having a grand old time up there. Thank you for making my life happier, just by knowing you.

And Kathy, Sean & Shaara - I love you all, and my thoughts & prayers are with you.
Jennifer Fague
November 2, 2008
Dr. Argo,
My life is much richer for having known you. Having been in your math classes, I've learned much more than math. Your many pearls of wisdom you shared are forever a part of me. Thank you.
Stacie Price
October 29, 2008
We'd like to express our condolences to the Argo family. We just met Don a few years ago after Edith's husband Charles found a pic of our great-uncle Mills with Mills Olcott Burnham, the first keeper of Canaveral Light. We became quite interested in the history of the Light and its' keepers. We then met Don through Lighthouse events. He was a brilliant and delightful man. We'll both miss him a lot. God bless you all.
Edith & Christine McCune
Christine McCune
October 27, 2008
Dr. Argo,

You were indeed the greatest math teacher I ever had! I am so lucky that I have been able to be a part of not only your life, but your beautiful daughter Shaara, son Sean and wife Kathy. I will always remember the smiles and laughs we have shared and the mathamatical humor you always seemed to "zing" me with. Thank you for always supporting me in my acting and singing and saying "Bravo!" after every performance you saw me in. I will miss you dearly!!!!!!

Always and Forever,

Amy
Amy Lacy
October 26, 2008
Dear Don,

I was first introduced to you by television. I caught some of your math class telecasts about 13 years ago when I first arrived in Florida. You were interesting, methodical, and effective as a professor. You re-taught me some math skills I had forgotten decades ago.

Then, perhaps a year later at a Space Coast Writer’s Guild meeting in Cocoa, I was thrilled to be introduced to you. Here you were in person. You were warm, friendly, and even more interesting than on TV. As time went on and we attended Guild meetings together we became friends. I had just published my travel guide to Route 28 in New York and you were writing your historical novel Canaveral Light, so we naturally discussed writing. And, due to our common interest in the subject, we also discussed math.

After knowing you for a while I realized what a great man you were. One thing I admired most about you was that you were not merely a spectator in life, but a large participant. You didn’t just live your life as it unfolded, you unfolded it according to your own plan. As it says in your obituary you were a baseball player, a football player, a boxer, a pilot, and more. You earned four degrees, including a Ph.D. You raised four children whom you can be proud of. And you had a lovely marriage with Cathy for more than three decades.

We all know that for 38 years mathematics was a major part of your life. So, what did you do when you retired? Not retire! You put your math horse out to pasture and immediately climbed upon another horse to research and write an award-winning historical novel. And you were well along in writing your second book when conditions overtook you, and, if I can speak for everyone else who is here today, us.

I will miss your intelligent conversation, your inquisitive mind, your subtle sense of humor. I will miss the fullness of your handshake and the warmth of your smile. But most of all I will miss a great friend, Don Argo. I will miss you.

Sincerely,
Rob Scharpf
October 26, 2008
To Don,
It has been wonderful knowing you for so long-since I was a little girl and you were friends with my father, Harvey Jackson. You always made me laugh! I will miss you. Loved your book and it was great to see you when you came by the house to gather info for it. You're spirit carries on in all of those you have touched.
Judy
(Former Cocoa Mayor)
Judy Parrish Whitnable
October 26, 2008
I worked with Don many years at BCC. Now as I work with many other learning institutions throughout the states, I always get a chance to brag about how BCC’s Dean of Math, a genius in his own right, always knew when I made a special breakfast casserole and came across campus looking for it. Then making sure I read his Canaveral Light…which kept me glued to my chair as I finished it in one night. I and many will miss him dearly. My heartfelt sympathy to his family and colleagues.
Margaret Thurman
October 25, 2008
In the five years I knew Don Argo, he had a profound impact on my life. Not ony did I admire his genius and passion for writing, and his devotion to family and those who opened their minds and hearts to the learning process. We were fellow writers, and proud friends. I will miss this man.
Marshall Frank
October 25, 2008
Don and I are about 8th cousins. My father's mother was Martha Jane Argo. Don and I talked many times about the family ties. I am aware that he was a great math teacher. Must be an Argo trait since I was a fair math teacher.
Dr. Calvin D. Fowler
October 25, 2008
To Kathy, Sean and Shaara, you are in my heart and prayers. I was truly saddened by the passing of your husband and father, and also dear friend, Don Argo. His presence and contributions have made this world a much better place in so many ways. Although Don was indeed a gentleman and a scholar, he was also a "mensch." Don will also be missed for his sense of humor and his warmth. His life was full and well lived, and although will be missed by many, including me, his legacy lives on.
Diane K. Davison
October 24, 2008
Kim--my heartfelt sympathies go out to you at this difficult time. No one can ever replace the Momma or Daddy and for you to have lost both in five months is incomprehensible. Just know that you are loved and we are only a phone call away if you need anything.
Love Bonny & Steve
Bonny Ussrey
October 24, 2008
Friends for several years , fondly remembered, his book was about my great great grandfather. We met at the lighthouse centennial . He will be missed.
Ray Swanson
October 23, 2008
I was in Dr. Argo's Calculus I class while he was writing Canaveral Light. I learned so much from him. He was an exceptional teacher and I really admired him. Throughout my school life, there have only been two teachers that I feel really taught me something and he is one of them.
Bryant Yocom
October 23, 2008
To the Family of Dr. Argo~
As a struggling math student many years ago, I remember the courses taught by Dr. Argo. I can truly say he was a wonderful math teacher and helped me very much as I pursued my academic journey. I am now an RN BSN and know his teaching was instrumental in attaining the education level I hold today. He had a gift and, more importantly, used that very special gift to help others such as myself. You must be very proud of the many lives he touched and changed and the wonderful legacy he leaves behind. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Peace be with you at this time.
Susan Kane
October 23, 2008
We will always remember our Grandpa playing the harmonica for us and dinners together at El Charro's. We love you. D.J. and Shelby.
Tami Argo
October 23, 2008
Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers.
Amber (Argo) & Larry Dilday
Amber (Argo) Dilday
October 23, 2008
Don Argo was a colleague and a friend. His wit made the many Department Chair meetings interesting, to say the least. His memory lives on.
Dr. Richard M. Blaney
October 23, 2008
KIM AND FAMILY....SO SORRY TO HEAR OF YOUR LOSS..OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU...PAT AND RICHARD PARHAM
RICHARD AND PAT PARHAM
October 23, 2008
My most sincere Condolences. I have been one of the privileged students who got through math ONLY because Dr. Argo took endless hours to explain the principles. He is the greates teacher of all times.
B. Hawkins
October 23, 2008
Mr. Argo was a wonderful patient to treat. We will miss him in the office. Kathy, you are in our thoughts.
The nurses at Space Coast Medical Associates
October 23, 2008
Dr Argo was a warm and wonderful teacher. Although I did not have the pleasure of being his student; he did help me understand math. His way of teaching, taking one step by step opened my eyes and made the concepts easy to understand. This man will truly be missed by all that knew him, each were touched by him in one way or the other.

To his family and friends my heartfelt sympathies.
Nancy Clark
October 23, 2008
What an amazing inspiraton Mr. Argo was. I hope in life i can be even half of the person he was. He will continue to inspire me to make as much out of my life to possitively affect others until i join him in heaven.
Lori Campbell
October 23, 2008
Don, You are already missed, Godspeed.
John & Karen Luzietti
October 23, 2008
I have had several patients and my own son who have always held Dr. Argo in very high regard. He was an exceptional man in all walks of life. When one's students talk so well of their professor, you have have to appreciate the goodness of the person. All of his students called him a genius, but aside from that he was a very nice guy which all appreciated. He will be missed.
Dr. Paul Yocom and sons
October 23, 2008
Kathy, Kim, Kevin, Sean and Shaara thinking of you all at this difficult time. So sorry for your lost, he was very special to me. Be Blessed. He will be missed.
From Francine
Francine Roberts
October 23, 2008
Algebra kept me out of college for a long time. And although I never had him as a teacher, watching his TV classes played an immeasurable role in my final success in algebra and calculus, which in turn got me through graduate to post-grad work. He was an excellent educator – there are few compliments one can pay higher than that.
Tim K
October 23, 2008
We'll miss Uncle Don. Thinking of all of you at this time.
Missy (Argo) & Dennis Hixson
October 23, 2008
Kevin & Kim -sorry to hear about the loss of your father. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Lou Ann Park - Janes
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