Obituary of Michael Guadagnolo
Mike Guadagnolo, 84, of The Villages, FL., passed away on December 13, 2022, following a short but valiant battle with lung cancer. He died peacefully in the arms of his beloved wife and best friend, Shirley.
Mike was born May 9, 1938, in Larchmont, NY, the only son of Louis and Mary (Mirande) Guadagnolo. Raised in a devout Catholic household of modest means, Mike's devoted parents taught him and his two sisters by example, the value of hard work, discipline, honesty and unconditional love. Qualities he carried throughout his lifetime. Mike was preceded in eternal life by his parents; his younger sister, MaryAnne Porretto; and his wife of 30 years, Yvonne (Liberati) in 1994.
Mike graduated from Mamaroneck High School in 1956, where he was very active in music & sports (Glee Club, Acappella Choir, Marching Band, Baseball, Fast-pitch Softball, Bowling Team).
He developed many lasting friendships during those years, and made it his mission to never miss a class reunion. It gave him great joy to plan & organize family reunions as well. Extremely proud of his Italian heritage & hoping to keep everyone connected, he loved to share his many scrapbooks filled with ancestry, memories and photos of family events.
Soon after graduation, Mike joined the U.S. Navy "to see the world". Not only did he get to travel extensively, but also fulfilled his dream of playing fast-pitch softball professionally. During his tour of duty, Mike helped lead the ship's team to world championships from the U.S. & Canada through South America, all while serving his country. Although he once considered a career in the Navy, Mike returned to New York where he attended Iona College and earned a degree in Accounting. He eventually settled in Norwalk CT, working his way up the corporate ladder. He enjoyed a long & successful career with Cendant Mobility Corp. until his retirement in 2005.
Mike was ready to start a new chapter, far away from freezing weather and shoveling snow. After visiting numerous retirement communities from Arizona to Texas and all over Florida, he happened to drop by The Villages. Not only was there softball & golf year round, bowling, live entertainment & karaoke, but buffalo! His favorite animal since childhood, he'd been an avid collector for decades of all things buffalo, and here they were, grazing throughout the community. The decision was made for him, God had spoken. It didn't take long for Mike to head south and begin that new chapter. With his happy smile & out-going nature, he made friends everywhere and was enjoying all The Villages had to offer. Life couldn't get any better, he thought. Until it did.
Everyone knows Mike loved to tell stories, and to anyone who would listen, his favorite was about the day he met Shirley. On a beautiful Monday afternoon in May, 2006, it was purely by chance they each happened to be in the perfect place, at just the right time. Friends who were there remember it well, and the sparks that flew when their eyes met. Shirley was only visiting at that time and went back home to Kentucky the next day, but their romance had only just begun. Twice-daily phone conversations for three weeks eventually led to "eleven first dates" when Mike went there to visit. It was magical. They bought a home together in The Villages the following year. In 2011, while on a 2-week country/western vacation, Mike and Shirley were married, on horseback, on a mountaintop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. And since then, in their backyard is a 12-ft flagpole. Flying below the American flag is the Wyoming state flag. There's a buffalo on it.
Mike always had a wide range of interests and hobbies, a zest for life that grew even larger with Shirley by his side. They lived, laughed and loved through everything The Villages had to offer, expanding their circle of friends with each club, group, or sports activity they joined. Karaoke became one of Mike's favorite things to do for fun, not only for the singing but because of the close friendships that were built around it. In addition to singing regularly at most of the local
venues, Mike loved to seek out karaoke spots while vacationing with Shirley in far-away places, and always on the cruise ships! He favored country music & oldies, but could bring the house down with Dean Martin. Always a crowd-pleaser, his favorite songs were those in which the audience could sing along with him & have fun.
Gone but not forgotten, Mike will remain in the hearts of everyone who knew him. He adored Shirley, their precious dog, Cody, and he thanked God every day for giving him the life they shared together. Mike will be remembered for his warmth & kindness, his optimism, sportsmanship, and wonderful sense of humor, but most of all.. his beautiful smile.
Surviving members of Mike's loving family include his dear sister, Frances Rimando, of Syracuse, NY; nieces, Lori (Rocky) Colella; Lisa (Mike) Svegl; nephews, Ralph (Regina) Rimando; Salvatore and Michael Porretto, and many, many cousins.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, March 11, 2023 3-6pm at Truman Recreation Center.
Because Mike truly felt that God blessed him with a long and wonderful life beyond anything he could have imagined, he did not fear death. It was Mike's wish, and it is Shirley's as well, that Mike be remembered by how he lived his life.. with much joy. Please feel free to share funny stories, anecdotes, or any special memories you may have.