Catholic 08
Official Obituary of

Joseph Gardina Jr.

February 10, 1950 ~ March 7, 2024 (age 74) 74 Years Old

Joseph Gardina Jr. Obituary

Joseph S. Gardina Jr. passed away Thursday, March 7, 2024 at Miami Valley Hospital following a brief battle with cancer. Joe attacked this battle as he attacked every challenge in his life with courage, strength, determination, and faith.

He was born February 10, 1950 and was the eldest child of the late Joseph and Mary Gardina of Coshocton, Ohio. In 1968 he graduated from P.I.M.E HS seminary in Newark, OH. He went on to college at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio where he participated in ROTC and then completed his college education at Ohio University in Athens, OH with a degree in physiological psychology in 1972. While a student at O.U., Joe received his brown belt in Karate. 

He spent his career in the insurance business working for Guardian, Med Mutual, and as a manager for Met Life. He established his own business, Joe Gardina and Associates, in 1988 where he continued his successful career until his retirement. 

Joe enjoyed working outside in his yard and was always busy cutting grass and cutting down trees. He liked old movies and TV shows and The History Channel. Joe loved to sing and was in the choir at church and performed in various Christmas programs as well as in a community production of  “Oklahoma.” He enjoyed cooking his favorite Italian Gardina family recipes and would often compete with his siblings in making the best pasta sauce and meatballs. He was very famous for his highly anticipated gnocchi he created during the holidays. His family remembers him as a caring, loving, and giving person with smiling eyes and big hugs. He took immense pride in his children and grandchildren and loved to entertain his grandchildren with magic tricks. Joe had a huge laugh and great sense of humor. He always ended each visit, phone call or conversation with, “Hey, I have a joke for you. I don’t think I have told you this one!”

Joe will be missed by his fiancée, Dorothy Ford; his siblings, Louis (Carol) Gardina, Mary (Bob) Lapp, and Tony (Cindy) Gardina; his children, Molly (Zack)Scott, Anna (Lou) Sponsel, and Joey (Elisa) Gardina; his grandchildren, Zoe and Perry Scott, Dominic, Evelyn, Luke, Gabriel and Lillian Sponsel, and Djavi, Givanni, Junio and Zia Gardina; as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews. 

The family will receive friends from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at Smith Funeral Home, 327 N. South Street, Wilmington, Ohio.  Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 AM, Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at St. Columbkille Catholic Church, 73 N. Mulberry St, Wilmington, OH 45177.  Burial will be in Sugar Grove Cemetery.  A luncheon will be held at the church following the graveside services. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Joe’s memory may be made to the American Heart Association, St. Columbkille Catholic Church, The Knights of Columbus, or Ohio Hospice of Dayton. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph Gardina Jr., please visit our floral store.

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March 12, 2024

6:00 PM to 8:00 AM
Smith Funeral Homes
327 N. South Street
Wilmington, OH 45177

Mass of Christian Burial
March 13, 2024

10:30 AM
St. Columbkille Catholic Church (Wilmington)


American Heart Association
P.O. Box 840692, Dallas TX 75284-0692

St. Columbkille Catholic Church
73 N. Mulberry Street, Wilmington OH 45177

Ohio Hospice of Dayton
7575 Paragon Road, Dayton OH 45459

Knights of Columbus
73 N. Mulberry Street, Wilmington OH 45177


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