Gioia Ottaviano

Gioia was an unique person–a Renaissance woman of sorts. There were many interesting facets to her life. First, Gioia was an educator, working as a liberian in the Schenectady School System for 42 yrs. She was a religious person, her 70 years as a member of the Sacred Heart League at St. Anthony, is a testimonial to that fact.  Gioia was also an avid traveler, a world explorer. Many a time I would get a postcard from an exotic place (I still have them). She travelled to China, Africa, and cruised down the Amazon River. Just a few of her many adventures! However, Gioia loved the arts above all. Whether viewing a production at Saratoga Opera (with her good friends Thelma Zeh, Sally Farrell and Michael Jegabbi), or a play at Stockbridge, or perhaps attending the Food for Jazz annual event at SCCC,–Gioia was there. Gioia also had a thirst to learn. Attending lectures at Union College and the University at Albany was of great interest to her. Gioia’s enthusiastic and dedicated involvement to the community earned her the prestigious award, Patroon of Schenectady. It should also be noted, that Gioia’s generosity with the check book helped many an organization.

Gioia was one of those special people who never set a foot on stage, yet her influence, guidance, and wisdom help make SLOC the great organization it is today. Gioia was a member of Light Opera serving as President (twice), VP, Secretary, and she served on various committees. Gioia even served as set painting coordinator for Jacques Brel.

I can remember that Gioia, even in her late eighties, would walk from her residence (Annie Schaffer Apts.) down to SLOC to attend our annual meeting. SLOC had a special place in her heart. For many years, (up until just recently} Gioia had a tradition of attending the opening performance of a show and then making a point to congratulate the show’s producer. It was a producers’ “thing!” Gioia was a great recruiter. Thelma Zeh more than once told me the story of how Gioia recruited her SLOC–to paint sets!

Gioia was special. There will never be another Gioia. Thank you. Rest in peace!

Alan Angelo
Sept. 21, 2018