special tributes to my father - page #3

Your father was one of the kindest men I have ever known, and he was an example to me in his relationships with other men, boys, and God. I have often thought of the impact he made on me as a young man through his life. Having him on the Christian Service Brigade outings was always a blast, and I was eager to hopefully be included in the car with Justin just to be a part of the fun I knew they would have.

I remember on more than one occasion Joe stuck his head out the window and hooted like a siren in the tunnels. This showed me that not all adults are caught up in taking themselves seriously. But on the flip side of that, he was always volunteering and coming out to help with all our programs, and whenever we were away somewhere I would always find him up early studying his Bible. This displayed his dedication and discipline to a cause, his family and God. Visiting with your family in their home or seeing your Dad at the office, it was no different; he was always light hearted and dedicated to what he was doing, which made him a true pleasure to be around. It's been a long time since I saw your dad, but I am certain that his example has helped me become the man I am today. Over the years I have often thought of him, and commented on him to others. I only regret that I never told him myself. I hope and pray that now he knows, and that the Lord keeps your family safe and secure in His love through all of this.

Walter Smith

Childhood friend of Justin, Hawaii

I grew up in Brooklyn at 92 McKinley Ave-Across the Street from the Agoglia family. We were not just friends with Margie and Joe (Rocco, Mom, Molly, Joe and Rosemary) we were family. I remember my Mother and Father taking me to the church when Joe & Claudia got married. I was only 10 but remember to this day that they were the most beautiful couple I had ever seen. It was a fairy tale. Joe would take us for rides on his go-cart and your Grandmother Margie would take us to the toy store. We still feel the void she left to this day. My sister and I had given our lives to the Lord about 6 years ago and pray for the rest of our family. We celebrate with you the life of your father, who has touched more lives then you know. Your mother is a blessing and her faith and prayers has touched me personally. We will all be together to praise our Lord and see his face one day. God Bless you and your family and may the peace of the Lord be with you all.


Friends of Family, NY

This week I learned the harsh reality of how brief our time here on earth is. My entire flight home I reflected on all the wonderful memories my Uncle Joe has left with me. From his laughter and humor that brightened every shared holiday to his abundant knowledge of where to find answers to all life's challenges. All he had to do was say those magic words with a tune that sounded like a magic symphony... I Loooooovvvvveeeee You!!!!!! and all would be okay. Just closing my eyes and recalling it makes me smile. This gift I promise to pass on to my children.

There are so many memories that I wouldn't be able to recall a favorite. Some memories are faded but there is one common thread... thinking of them makes my heart smile. How bitter sweet the memories of the crazy rides in the suburban as a child or the crazy rides in the Oldsmobile with my children as an adult. Or the crisis that he helped bail me out of.

Always with a kind, forgiving heart. How blessed I was to sit with him in June not knowing they'd be my last coherent conversations with my uncle. Even then as he sat in the hospital he was witnessing to me. Telling me all the important wisdom he has learned through his years of study. And how I too have the same access to the Word. I do know that the Lord has a greater plan here and I am confident that with faith our hearts will heal and realize Uncle Joe has made it to the finish line. He has lived the true Christian life. Just as the apostle Paul referred to when he said “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7)

We must do the same. When I left my family this last time I said a special prayer, I thanked him for the special time we had together though so bittersweet. And I told Him that now I am keenly aware that all our joys are temporary. Our lives will not always be stable and secure. Change is inevitable as it has come to us now but we will accept it.

As I sit here and try to understand Uncle Joe's illness I’ve realized that there is some good out of such a tragic ending. I sit here scouring over my Bible trying to find the answers and I do! Right away I turn to John 13:1-14:31. Jesus is saying good bye to his friends. “I go to my Father, " he said. ”You can't go with me yet, but don't worry, I won't leave you alone. The Holy Spirit will be your constant companion, and I must go so that he can come. While I'm gone he will teach you everything you need to know. I will be gone, by my time only a little while, though it may seem long to you. When I come again, it will be to take you where I have been all this time fixing up a special place for all of us to be together…forever. After that we won't have to say good bye again."

He also said “Love and take care of each other. The way you treat each other will tell the world about our family. So remember whose child you are. Some problems may come up, but whatever you need, you can ask for it by using my name. All I have is at your disposal, and the Holy Spirit will see that you have it. When you feel lonely or afraid, rely on my promise that I have insulated you in prayer, and you belong to me".

So Uncle Joe, it's coming together! I will take little steps of faith and move toward God each day as you encouraged me to. And I too will work just as hard so that some day we will all sit together at the table of the Lord! “The secret to an abundant life: Love, Joy, Peace, Kindness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Long-suffering, and self control. These are the seeds we need to deposit amongst our family each day. Little acts of kindness and encouragement, etc." What a motto to live by!

As I read some of the last pieces of wisdom my Uncle Joe was kind enough to share with me, I smile through my tears and commit to trying my hardest to pass it on!

Kelli Ottman

Dad and Mom’s Niece, FL

Operation Andrew- Feb. 1993

The SGT Youth Group loaded up 5 vans of teens and headed to Florida. The drive was long and the kids were getting cranky and I was losing my patience. Another van pulled up next to me, rolled down the window and I heard, “Hey beautiful." There was Joe's smiling face ready with a word of encouragement or a quick joke (I know where his son's got their sense of humor from!). That was just the beginning of a special friendship with lots of treasured hugs and smiles. I was thinking of him today and I wonder... who is Joe hugging in heaven? He had a lot of practice on earth so I am sure God is using his gift in heaven. Was the first person he met Malachi? This was his favorite Italian prophet :) Won't it be fun when we are together in heaven to walk down the streets of gold to his mansion and catch up. I'm sure he will still be bragging about Claudia and the boys.

One final thought: At my father's funeral in 1989, pastor turned to my mom and told her that her thoughts would be focused on heaven because she had an earthly treasure that was now there. The every day things would seem so temporary unless they were for God's kingdom and eternity. Over the years, I have found that the more I focus on heaven... the closer I am to God. I imagine my dad playing stickball, but the most important thing to me is I want to go home to be with my Lord.

Sue Hansen

Friend of family, Minnesota