Profile: Joseph Girimonti    
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Profile: Joseph Anthony Girimonti

by William J. Girimonti III

Photo  Joseph Girimonti and wife, Joan.

Throughout my research into the history of our old and distinguished family, I have had the opportunity to meet many new and interesting people along the way. Among these people is the subject of this Profile, Joseph Anthony Girimonti of Mesa, Arizona.

Joseph was born 20 July 1917 in Brooklyn, New York to Ernesto Girimonti and Rose Argenti (see article Rose Argenti Girimonti Remembered). The second of nine children, he grew up in the predominantly Italian areas of Williamsburg and Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York. One of his earliest memories during this period of his life was his first day of school at P.S. 45 in 1922. A trauma to most children, he explained, "I was very apprehensive about being left there." Another of his memories of this time period was watching his maternal grandparents, Battista Argenti and Eugenia, making wine every year. Joseph's father, Ernesto, also made his own wine.

A few years later, in 1925, Joseph got his first job shining shoes. That lasted a couple of years until he began delivering ice with his uncle, William Girimonte.

After attending Alexander Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, New York and the New York School of Printing in Manhattan, he went on to study at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute where he majored in Engineering.

In 1938, while working at E.A. Laboratories, Joseph married Philomena Lovaglio. They went on to have three children: Barbara, John, and Stephen. His career as a Design Engineer started at Brewster Aeronautical in 1940. Two years later, he went on to Eastern Aircraft, but only stayed there for one year. Finally in 1945, Joseph found the company he would end up working with for 35 years--Fairchild Republic, which is one of the most famous aerospace companies to ever have existed. "I started at Republic as a junior draftsman and rose to the position of Design Engineer, heading a group of 35 engineers," explained Joseph. One of the highlights of his tenure at Fairchild Republic, he said, "Was when Republic sent me to Boeing Aircraft to work on designing the cockpit of the [Boeing] 747." Another of his career highlights was his involvement with designing mock-ups (full-scale, working prototypes) of the waste-management system and food galley system for NASA's Sky Lab. As a result, he met with many astronauts who went to Fairchild Republic to view and discuss the mock-ups. Among the astronauts he met were Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and others. Incidentally, in 1969, on the world-famous Apollo 11 mission to the moon, Armstrong and Aldrin went on to become the first and second men, respectively, to ever walk on its surface. Another of Joseph's career highlights was the design of the tail system of NASA's Space Shuttle. Later on in his career, he created and headed the Quality Assurance group at Fairchild Republic for the F-105 Thunderchief and A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft. The F-105 was hailed as the premier fighter/interceptor jet of its time, while the A-10 proved to be the most valuable asset of the U.S. Air Force during the Persian Gulf War. After working 35 years at Fairchild Republic, Joseph finally retired in 1980.

Photo  1975, Joseph looking over a model of tooling fixtures, which he designed, for the tail of the Space Shuttle

Photo  1971, Joseph checking operation of spacecraft waste management processor module he designed.

Looking back at his most memorable occasions, he commented, "In 1945, I witnessed the first F-84 jet plane to take off from U.S. soil at Republic Aviation in Farmingdale, New York. The plane was being demonstrated to the U. S. Air Force [U.S. Army Air Corps]." Another of his most memorable occasions, he said, ". . .was the birth of my first child, Barbara Ann in 1942."

Despite Joseph's illustrious career in the aerospace industry, there were certain irreconcilable differences between he and his wife, Philomena. It later led to divorce. Then, in 1977, Joseph remarried to his present wife, Joan, who was also on her second marriage. "Being married for a second time, we share 6 children, 14 grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, and another on the way," said Joseph. He added, "This has made our lives very full and gives us much pleasure. It has been great to see the family go full-circle and be there for all of them."

Having done and seen much over his lifetime, what kind of advice would he have for the younger generations? "Education: Education: Education: . . .," he responded. ". . .Without a good education in today's world, it is very difficult to be able to get into the job market and survive." Not only that, but he feels his greatest influences were his instructors and teachers in school.

In retrospect, Joseph feels if he had the chance to go back in time and do certain things differently he would do only two things. "First," he explains, "I would have continued my education in order to have bettered my position in the working field. Second, I would not have retired as early as I did. I found I really miss the contacts and accomplishments of being in a productive field."

Since retirement, Joseph has kept himself busy doing the things he loves most: photography, woodworking, fishing and trying to learn to use a computer. Additionally, he looks to the future and plans on enjoying the remainder of his retirement, watching his family as it grows while enjoying them as much as he can, and sticking around a while longer.

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