Joseph Rocco Grimardi
August 16, 1934 - June 30, 2020
Joseph Rocco Grimardi, of Bradenton, Fla., died on June 30 in his home with his family, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was the son of the late John Grimardi and Susan Gabert.
He is survived by his wife, Loretta Carla Grimardi; his daughter, Susan Patricia, and son-in-law, Neil Lustig, of Madison; his daughter, Maria Ellen Grimardi, of Woodland Hills, Calif.; his son, John Batiste Grimardi, and his partner, Patricia Soma, of Newtown; his former wife, Mary Grimardi, of Riverview, Fla.; his stepson, Louis Gasparini, of Brewster, N.Y.; and his sister, Marianne Muskus, of Newtown. He is also survived by his granddaughters, Kimberly and Katlyn Lustig, of Madison.
Joseph built his home in 1973 to be close to his parents and sister, but later moved to Florida in 2005. He lived a very interesting and exciting life. He went into the United States Air Force, where he became a flight mechanic on C-119 Flying Boxcars during the Korean War; and was honored with two Outstanding Unit Awards.
During his 50-plus year aviation career, he was a top-rated and awarded pilot in the Grumman G-1159 Gulfstream II/III/IV, including being one of the first pilots to fly Gulfstream jets. He logged over 8,500 hours flying all over the world, and to many destinations unopened to Americans. He was employed as an aviation captain for major corporations, including US Steel, Dow Jones, J. E. Seagram & Sons, View Top Aviation, Fisher Brothers, and Atlantic Aviation, giving him the opportunity to fly four American presidents, and well known celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Kirk Douglas, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio, among others. He earned numerous awards throughout his aviation career, including the National Business Aviation Association Miler Award for Safety.
Joseph participated in a variety of organizations, including being an active Fourth Degree member at the Knights of Columbus; the Elks Lodge; the American Legion; and Manatee County Veterans Council. He was a sports enthusiast and loved to dance and spend time boating with his family. But of all his passions throughout his life, the one constant was his love of flying.
Joseph will be missed dearly.
Due to the pandemic, a celebration of his life will be held at a later date.