Joseph Michael Fodero (1932 – 2022)
Joseph Michael Fodero, 89, born July 6, 1932, died March 14, 2022 in Portland, Oregon, where he had lived since November 2019.
Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, he was the eldest of his parents’ (Salvatore Fodero and Angeline Diuro) 10 children. Coming from a working-class family, he learned at an early age the importance of family, hard work and the desire to learn; the key to advancing one’s lot in life.
An early interest in weightlifting, gymnastics, handstand and tumbling grew into an important activity, earning him numerous trophies and awards at various college, regional and national levels. Drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict, he served in Germany as part of the occupation forces after World War II, traveling around the country as a document courier. This started his love for travel; to see new places and meet new people, to gain a broader perspective on life. Using the GI Bill to help pay for his education, he graduated from Springfield College in Massachusetts and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and earned his doctorate in education while teaching at SUNY Oneonta. Joseph was a faculty member of the physical education department at SUNY Oneonta, serving as the first and only coach of the men’s gymnastics team and additionally coach of the men’s cross-country and orienteering teams. He has taught various courses on performance, physiology and sociology of sport. He encouraged a competitive spirit in his teams, but in equal measure stressed the importance of appreciating the art of sport and the value of good sportsmanship, which earned him respect and recognition. friendship of many of its young athletes.
Proud of his heritage, he was an active member of the Oneonta Italian American Club, a design consultant for the Oneonta Boys and Girls Club, and an active and ardent advocate for people with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities, especially with the ARC. and NAMI. His volunteer role in this capacity has helped destigmatize those who, without choice on their part, have different abilities, and he has worked to reduce marginalization.
Joseph loved music, attended musical performances, dance, and the visual arts, and believed that change and peace could most effectively be brought about by those with a creative passion. He was also an avid camper, hiker, cross country skier and also enjoyed exploring rivers and lakes by canoe or kayak. His church, he said, was “the cathedral of the pines”. He laughed, loved and lived.
He is survived by his wife: Nancy Fodero; and two children: Anthony (Cathy) and Lisa; brother: Frank Fodero; and five sisters: Kathryn Nichols, Nancy Pearl, Roberta Cherkis, Clara Fodero, and Marie Rummel; as well as several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brothers: Albert and Salvatore; and his sister: Hélène.
Joe left this world quietly, in his sleep, without the grip of fear or pain, while under the compassionate and professional care of the Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver Veterans Administration, Washington, to whom we are immensely grateful.