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Monday, January 8, 2024
9:00 - 10:00 am (Eastern time)
Monday, January 8, 2024
Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)
Joseph Victor Ciminillo, aka Superman, passes at 81
Joe Ciminillo was a dad of girls, and as such he was a protector of and mentor to all women, both young and old. When his daughters were young, he would spin bedtime fairytales of princesses in lands far, far away. And as they grew, he showed them that the princess didn’t need a prince charming to save the day – they could do it themselves, and he showed them how.
He had an incredible imagination and a boundless sense of energy that made him seem to his wife and daughters, and all who surrounded him, that he was invincible. In fact, as the story goes, Joe was actually Superman in disguise. When the girls were young, he would often say to his daughters and their friends: Want to see me fly around the house? To which the girls would gleefully giggle and answer with a resounding yes. After a pause, he would say: Well, what did you think? Quizzically, the girls would look up at him and say: We didn’t see it! Do it again! He would raise his arms, and after another pause, he’d say: How about now? No? He’d say: Well, I’m too fast for human eyes.
Joe was born in Lima, Ohio, and graduated from Lima Central Catholic High School before getting a Bachelor of Science from Ohio Northern University.
In his life Joe had overcome a massive heart attack in his late 30s, a six-way bypass surgery in his mid 50s and spinal meningitis in his mid 60s. His determination to live kept the kryptonite at bay, and he managed to live a long and happy life filled with laughter, family, travel and lots of good red wine. He was a prolific chef, reprising his mother’s Italian family recipes and teaching his daughters to cook. His youngest daughter, he often said, had hands that were the perfect size to make the perfect meatballs.
Joe spent more than 40 years working in the pharmaceutical industry – first for The Upjohn Company, which was bought by Pharmacia, which was eventually purchased by Pfizer. He started in sales and finished his career as a clinical research associate for phase one studies.
As a girls’ baseball coach in the 1970s, he had the honor of helping several classes of young girls become strong women.
“[Joe] definitely left such a positive imprint on a lot of people in the world, including me,” said Michele Hoefer Burch. “I am forever grateful for his gentle coaching, of all of us girls playing baseball. He showed us how we could get out there and compete – just like the boys, and he personally taught me how to stay calm and not get stressed and then throw a strike. I still remember him telling me to ‘throw a Mickey.’ I do not think I would have been such an athlete throughout life if it were not for his influence.”
Throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s and early aughts, his mentorship of women continued, and he helped women with potential and drive learn how to succeed professionally.
“He was my favorite person and a huge cheerleader and mentor in my life,” said former co-worker Janelle Davies Anderson. “I thought he would live forever. … I wouldn’t be the person I am today without [him] in my life. [He was] an amazing man, and we all need a Joe in our lives.”
Joe’s kryptonite returned in 2020 with a fall off a ladder followed by a catastrophic hypoxic event, which brought his emerging dementia symptoms to the forefront. Diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, he struggled with an increasing lack of memory, but he never lost his family connection or sense of humor. Even when he was non-verbal, he expressed his love with a pat on the knee or showed his humor by making faces at the cat.
He passed peacefully at home on New Year’s Day surrounded by family.
Joe is survived by his wife of 58 years, Judith Eikenbary Ciminillo; daughters, Julie Ciminillo, Jennifer Ciminillo and Jill Ciminillo; sons-in-law, Rick Fausett and Jon Erlich; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Ciminillo; mother, Nicoline Ciminillo; brothers, Lewis Ciminillo, Thomas Ciminillo and Paul Eugene Ciminillo; and sisters, Mary Ciminillo and Jo Ann Ciminillo.
A visitation with the family will be from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 8, 2024, at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic Church, 11441 Hague Road, Fishers IN, 46038. Services will be held at 10:00 a.m., following the visitation.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to either the Women’s Sports Foundation (https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/support-us/) – honoring all the women he has coached and mentored throughout the years, beginning with girls’ baseball in Ft. Wayne, IN – or the Lewy Body Dementia Association (https://www.lbda.org/donate/) – with the hope that scientific advances can be made so others might not have to suffer with this horrible disease.