Dr. Joseph A. Mangano passed away peacefully at his home in Raleigh on Friday afternoon, November 7, 2014, after a six-month illness. His wife and daughters were at his side.
Joe was born on November 17, 1927 in a tenement in Mount Vernon, New York, the last of ten children of Angelo and Maria (Montalto) Mangano, immigrants from southern Italy. Despite his humble beginnings, and his father’s untimely death when Joe was eight, from his earliest boyhood he dreamed of becoming a doctor. He excelled as a student, and attended Columbia University and New York Medical College, both in New York City. Although he lived at home and helped care for his mother, who died shortly before his medical school graduation, he loved “the City,” especially going to Broadway musicals, saving the Playbill from every show he ever saw.
In July 1954, during his first week as an intern at Mount Vernon Hospital in his hometown, he met a beautiful young nurse, Eleanor Landino. Although the handsome 26-year-old had never been on a date, within days he was in love, and soon after engaged. The couple married the following May, and remained completely devoted to each other during their more than 59 years of marriage.
During his Army service, when he was stationed in Germany, two children were born, a son Joseph in 1956, and a daughter Maria the following year. After their return to New York, Joe completed his medical residency and began his practice of internal medicine. Two more children followed, a daughter Eleanor in 1960, and a son William in 1966.
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In 1969, Joe moved his young family to Springfield, Vermont, where he spent five happy years as a small town physician. Although the family moved to Raleigh in 1974, Joe never lost his love of the Green Mountain state, and vacationed there frequently following his move south. In Raleigh, he worked as a student health physician at St. Mary’s College and NC State, and also began working as a resident physician in area nursing homes. Discovering a special gift for caring for the elderly, in the 1980s he began focusing exclusively on nursing home work, and continued this work until 2011, having practiced medicine for 57 years.
Joe was at heart a family man, selflessly devoted to his wife, children, and since 1987, his beloved grandchildren. He was generous in all ways and friendly to everyone. He was unfailingly cheerful -- his whistle was often heard at home and at work. His sharp mind and phenomenal memory never deserted him, even in his last days. He worked thousands of New York Times crossword puzzles over the years, always in pen, completing his final one a mere four days before his death.
He was predeceased by his parents and his nine brothers and sisters. He is survived by his wife Eleanor; his four children, Joseph Mangano and wife Susan, Maria Mangano and husband Daniel Read, Eleanor Cioffi and husband Andrew, William Mangano and wife Laura; his seven grandchildren, Quentin Read, Dino Mangano and husband Bradley Bennett, Christopher, Nicholas, and Alexander Cioffi, Erick Williams and Rachel Mangano; and many nieces and nephews, including Dr. Charles Mangano of Raleigh, who was a special comfort to him during his last months. He will be forever cherished and is already deeply missed.
A funeral mass will be held at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Raleigh at noon on Tuesday, November 11, preceded by a visiting hour and followed by a reception, both at the church. Memorials may be made to St. Raphael’s or to Transitions LifeCare (formerly Hospice) of Raleigh.