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Joe Guarino
Ensign Joe Guarino
The War Years
Joe Guarino and wife Della Grace at LST 494 Reunion
Judge Joseph M. Guarino
January 28, 1923-October 18, 2010
JUDGE JOSEPH M. GUARINO passed into eternal life on the 18th of October 2010, in the loving presence of his family. He died the way he lived, embraced and surrounded by those he loved. He lived a full, rich and rewarding life. He was born in Houston, Texas on the 28th of January 1923, to Michael Guarino and Madeline Porcarello Guarino. Joe was a scholar-athlete at St. Thomas High School where he was a standout in both baseball and football. He graduated from St. Edward's University in Austin in 1943, and joined the U.S. Navy. Commissioned as an Ensign at the age of 20 he was assigned as the gunnery officer on a Landing Ship, the USS LST 494. He made the initial assault on Omaha Beach during the Normandy Invasion. He later saw action in the Invasion of Southern France and in the Pacific Theater aboard the USS LST 375 as her gunnery and executive officer. Like many of his generation, Joe's character was molded in large measure by his experiences during WW II. He was proud of his service and remained close to his shipmates over the years. Throughout his life, Joe exhibited integrity coupled with great moral and physical courage. He was a great American.
 
After the war, Joe returned to Houston and in 1948, married the love of his life, Della Grace Trapolino. She became his life partner and they embarked upon a 62 year love affair. Together they enjoyed the rich rewards that God bestows upon those who cultivate a loving family and many dear friends. Joe had a kind and loving heart. He always felt the need to help the less fortunate and generously assisted many charities.
 
Joe graduated from South Texas College of Law in 1949, practiced law in Houston, served as an assistant district attorney in Harris County and in 1963 was appointed the first Judge of County Criminal Court-at-Law No 4. In 1968 Governor Preston Smith appointed him to the newly created 183rd Criminal District Court. He became the first Italian-American and second Roman Catholic in Texas to serve on a State District Bench. He retired in 1986 but continued to serve as a Senior District Judge for a number of years. Joe was a highly respected and popular jurist who never had an opponent during his many terms of elected office.
 
Joe was active in community religious and civic activities. He and his wife were named by the Pope as Knight and Lady of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Joe was named Outstanding Alumnus of both St. Thomas High School and South Texas College of Law and served as president of the Ex-Students Assoc. of South Texas. He was a recipient of the Federation of Italian-American Organizations of Greater Houston "Man of the Year Award," served on the Board of St. Edward's University, the San Jose Clinic in Houston as well as several area banks. Joe was a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, a member of the Naval Order of the United States and served as presiding officer of the LST 494 Association for many years.
 
While deeply involved in community activities, Joe's real priority was his family. He cherished the time he shared with his wife, children and grandchildren. Joe and his wife had a true love of travel and took many wonderful vacations with family and friends. He also treasured spending time with those he loved at his house in Jamaica Beach.
 
Our beloved "Poppi" is survived by his loving wife, Della Grace; his three children, Michael Guarino and wife, Jeannie, Gregory Guarino and wife, Joanne, and Kathy Guarino Danna and husband Bernard; his six grandchildren, who he lovingly called his "jewels," Jodie Guarino, Allison Danna, Kelley Guarino, Carol Danna, Gregory Guarino Jr. and Ben Danna. Other relatives include his sister, Natalie Guarino Voelkel; sisters-in-law, Myra Guarino and Mary Ann Guarino; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Joe was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Peter J. Guarino and Michael J. "Mickey" Guarino Jr., as well as his brother-in-law James "Bucky" Voelkel.
 
The family would like to thank Dr. Jaffer Ajani and Dr. Pat Cook for the wonderful care and attention they provided. A special thanks also to Rosa Carcamo, Charlotte Norman, Raquel Rosales and Tim Frankel for their kind and loving care.
 
The Mass of Christian burial will be conducted at ten oclock in the morning on Thursday, the 21st of October, at St. Michael Catholic Church, 1801 Sage Road in Houston, where the Most Rev. Joseph A. Fiorenza, Archbishop Emeritus, Galveston  Houston Dioceses, will officiate.
 
The interment will follow, via an escorted cortege, at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery in Houston.
 
Those honored to serve as casket bearers during the services will be his two grandsons and nephews.
 
Honorary Pallbearers include Ted Dinerstein, Jack Joplin, Jack McConn, the Honorable William Hatten, the Honorable Patricia Lykos, Carol Vance, Joe Ellis, Charles Laviage, James Pearson, John Parsley, Howard Katz, the Honorable Gray Miller, the Honorable David Garner, and the surviving members of the USS LST 494 Association.
 
Kindly note that todays notice includes a corrected list of philanthropic organizations to which memorial contributions may be directed. In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial gifts in honor of Joe may be directed to Strake Jesuit College Prep., 8900 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77036; St. Thomas High School, 4500 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77007; Discalced Carmelite Nuns, 1100 Parthenon PL, New Caney, TX 77357 or a favorite charity of choice.
Houston Chronicle Article:
 
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