Carlo Di Maio died on July 31, 2019, surrounded by loving family. Professor Di Maio was the second of four sons born to Angelo Di Maio and Anna Maria Di Gennaro Di Maio of Civitavecchia,Italy. He attended schools in Santa Marinella, where mother and children resided during the war and immediate post-war years, and in Civitavecchia. In 1956 Carlo sailed for the United States to derive his U.S. citizenship before he turned 18. His father had been born in Chester, Pennsylvania, the third child of Giuseppe Di Maio, an immigrant railroad worker, and Rosa Castellaccio Di Maio. When Rosa died in childbirth, Giuseppe moved back to Italy with the children. Angelo retained his U.S. citizenship and was able to register his two older sons, Giuseppe (Joseph) and Carlo, born before WWII, as United States citizens.
Work in a Brooklyn cardboard box factory held little promise, so while walking around Times Square, Carlo visited military recruiting stations. The Navy would not accept him because he did not speak English. But the Air Force recruiter was Italian-American. The two conversed in Italian, and the matter of English proficiency never came up.Carlo completed basic training at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach,Florida, and then was deployed to Torrejón Air Base in Madrid, Spain. He was on active military duty from 1957-1964, completing his final tour at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
Carlo then enrolled in the Spanish program at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, earning the B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. While completing his graduate work, Carlo was appointed Instructor of Spanish and Director of the Foreign Language Laboratory. He obtained funding for and oversaw the installation of state-of-the-art equipment.
In 1975 Carlo accepted full time employment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. He rose through the ranks to Professor, teaching courses in Spanish, Italian, and classical mythology, and serving as Department Head from 1977-1990. He retired in the spring of 1998 and was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus and Department Head Emeritus of Foreign Languages. This honor was bestowed upon him in recognition of his many years of outstanding service rendered to Southeastern Louisiana University.
The Republic of Italy also honored Carlo Di Maio in 1983 as Knight of the Order of Merit for his outstanding service in promoting the study of the Italian language and culture in Louisiana. He had taught evening leisure courses in Italian in Baton Rouge,Hammond, and as far as Morgan City. He co-hosted a Saturday morning Italian program on WWNO, public radio of New Orleans. Carlo also directed a summer program in Siena, Italy, taking students from LSU as well as SLU. Most importantly, Carlo played an instrumental role in the introduction of Italian programs into Tangipahoa Parish public schools.
Carlo loved to entertain and cook Italian dishes for his friends and family. He enjoyed movies, especially the 1950s American epics he’d first viewed as a teenager in Italy and the films of Federico Fellini—the semi-autobiographical Amarcord being his favorite--and he had an extensive film library. Music gave him much pleasure,from classical symphonies and opera to Latin American folk music, Spanish zarzuelas, and Roman stornelli. He also treasured his books.
Carlois survived by his beloved wife, Sonnia, originally from Lima, Peru; his cherished daughter, Lara Adria Di Maio Viator, and grandsons, Ethan Ryan Viator and Jack Whitney Viator, of Rhinebeck, New York. In recent years, Carlo enjoyed the company of Sonnia’s children, Sonnia, Juan Carlos, and Jorge Romero Toledo,of Peru, and their families. He is predeceased by his brother, Joseph Di Maio,and nephew, Bjorn Di Maio, of Miami, Florida, and survived by Joseph’s sons,John and James Di Maio. He will be missed by his brother, Francesco Di Maio,his sister-in-law, Anna, and their children, Gianpaolo and Tiziana, and his brother, Enzo Di Maio, of Civitavecchia, Italy.
A visitation for Carlo will be held on Sunday, August 4, 2019 from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm at Harry McKneely & Son Funeral Home in Hammond. A Funeral Blessing will immediately follow visitation at 2:00 pm in the funeral home chapel. Immediately following the blessing will be a reception at St. Albert’s Catholic Student Center in Hammond until 5:00 pm.As he requested, Carlo will be laid to rest in the family plot of Lara’smother, Irene Stocksieker Di Maio, in Andes, New York, overlooking the beautiful Catskill mountains.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Holy Ghost Catholic Church, Hammond, LA; the Crossing at Clarity Hospice, Baton Rouge, LA; or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Carlo’s guest book can be viewed at www.harrymckneely.com.