John Giudice, alias "Buck", was born 01 June 1931 in Westerly, Rhode Island to immigrant father and mother Gennaro and Rosa (née Crocca). He was the last remaining sibling of his former Marion Street family, surviving in order: Francis, Angeline (Iacoi), James, Santa (Aldrich), Samuel, and Helen.
A restless young John found grade school and menial factory jobs a dull struggle. Carpentry at night school gave him a reason to excel and show discipline. Rising to Master Sergeant, he served the Army as a tank commander on a frozen Korean mountainside. Once stateside, his first great project was renovation of his home's dank basement into a functioning larger kitchen.
John cut his saw teeth with an industrial construction crew, and next joined a smaller contractor team in New London county. Its bullying co-owner became vexed as customers kept asking for "that nice young Italian man" over the boss. Once that business imploded, John was "promoted" to sole proprietor by its abandoned client in Stonington Borough. Crisply she demanded project completion, declaring her firm confidence in John and becoming the first of many repeat customers in dozens of aging homes throughout Stonington, Mystic, and Ledyard.
Clients loved showing off John's polished and thoughtful solutions to their problems. Among them were personal friends of aviator Amelia Earhart, the British royal family, and Saudi oil barons. Also in the roster: the Woolworth retail family, a Bill Moyers TV producer, and Henry Heydenryk, frame crafter to star visual artists. The lady who spurred his career move? That was noted photographer Rollie McKenna. John's work can also be found within historic landmarks such as Stonington's Lighthouse Museum and the Palmer House, and Watch Hill's HIgh Watch, where he routinely encountered dance diva Rebekah Harkness and her entourage.
Possibly his most proud achievement was his own Westerly home, constructed on spare nights and weekends on a promise to his wife Margaret (née Burns). Shortly after the big move in 1968, they adopted an infant boy, named after his beaming father. There the family enjoyed a modest living, with Margaret serving as frugal secretary and charmer of clients. They understood "home" as a shelter for the spirit before persons and possessions. They each would commit countless caregiving and home renovation hours to relatives of both sides with growing families.
From John you could learn quiet strength, humility, making fluffy scrambled eggs, fun facts about organized criminals, and how to install hundreds of lineal feet of crown moulding so that joints disappear. As he came to acquire surgical implants and outlive most of his clients, all of that character and expertise began to dissolve. A slow drip of judgmental errors accelerated into disabling dementia after a head injury in 2015. His final year across multiple nursing homes and hospitals shifted his decline from a ramp to a ski slope. Under hospice watch John's suffering ended in peace on 13 January, at 91.5 years.
In Westerly on 07 March 2023, an informal gathering begins 09 AM in the lower-level hall of Immaculate Conception Church, 111 High Street, ahead of a funeral Mass there at 10 AM. Burial will follow at Saint Sebastian Cemetery, Beach Street. Relatives and guests are invited to a memorial party at the Westerly Yacht Club approximately Noon. Dress code is relaxed, and our stories will be shared over lunch. All who remember John are welcome to any and all events of the day.
Please, no flowers or direct gifts. Donations may be sent to Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AlzFdn.org) and/or Disabled American Veterans (DAV.org). Those requesting the unabridged version of this obituary may contact John's son at email@example.com.
For online condolences please visit www.rushlowiacoifuneralhome.com