John entered the world at home during a blizzard in Rapid City, South Dakota. He
was pink and beautiful and instantly loved. He grew up in a large, loud, close-knit Italian/Irish/Cajun family. He deeply loved his mother and lived for his father. As the youngest, John managed to infiltrate his four brothers’ escapades (too young to realize he was a “fall guy”) and became his sister’s living baby doll (too young to protest). Many memories were made at the kitchen table and John’s coming-of-age stories always left his family in hysterics. His siblings adored him.
John was born to be a father. His three children were his everything. His world. His pride. His legacy. His reason for being. His sons were his joy and his daughter was his heart. He was their advisor, best friend, encourager, role model, and cheerleader. He was the best father they could have asked for. John loved his fiancée with his heart and soul and never ceased to take her breath away. His one and only, she was quite simply and profoundly the love of his life.
John’s best friend (and honorary brother) was by his side since 8th grade at St. Stanislaus. They shared an extraordinary bond and weird (yet wonderful) sense of humor. In every sense of the word, they defined true friendship. John enjoyed grilling, advising, joking, sharing music, and hanging out with his numerous nieces, nephews, brother-in-law, and sisters-in-law. He had a warm and enduring relationship with his extended family and relished gathering with them. John was devoted to his family, fiancée, and friends. He was fiercely protective and loyal beyond words. He was a gift to those impacted by his life. His traditional toast, “La Famiglia!” (The Family), resonates even more deeply with us now. Not a single person that knew John was spared his wicked sense of humor and practical jokes. He loved when his victims successfully “returned the favor” and their approval rating skyrocketed. John was a history buff and soaked up every possible fact regarding ancient Rome, WWI, WWII, ancient aliens, and wombats. Tour guides quickly crumbled when John started asking questions. It became abundantly clear to all on tours that John knew his history. Word spread throughout Europe that guides needed to “up their game.” He liked tinkering in the yard (weeds feared him) and took fashion cues from no one (cargo shorts were his “go to”). He will forever be credited for strict holiday celebration planning, eclectic taste in music, and curiosity about ghosts, urban legends, and life on other planets. John greatly appreciated his genealogy (maternal - Katherine McGoey of County Cork, Ireland and paternal - Thomas Gargiulo of Naples, Italy) and felt extremely connected to both countries when visiting them with his children and fiancée. He was always open to different cultures and perspectives. Even as a child, John was spiritual and had an empathic awareness and wonder of the world (and beyond).
John was most proud of his military service. He was a true patriot. Being raised in a military family, John loved his country and the history and traditions of the military. His father flew B52 Bombers in Vietnam and each of his four brothers served in the Active Duty military. John attended the University of Southern Mississippi on a full military scholarship earning a bachelor’s degree in 1989. He was commissioned as a Military Intelligence officer and assigned to the 24th Infantry Division shortly before deploying with the Division into the combat zone during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. He continued service in the National Guard after leaving the Active Component, where he ultimately attained the rank of Colonel.
After Desert Storm, John earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law. He initially worked in a civil defense firm but transitioned into prosecution upon appointment as an Assistant District Attorney. Later, he was appointed by the Governor to serve as Circuit Court Judge. In 2014, John was appointed by the Federal District Court to serve as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Mississippi where he faithfully served until his passing. John was held in high esteem throughout his legal career. He was fair, humble, organized, hard-working and respectful of all who entered his courtroom. He appreciated his staff tremendously and thought the world of them.
John left us too soon: his children - Andrew, Jordan, and Katherine (former wife - Lisa Andry Young); fiancée - Stephanie Ingram; sister - Terese Evans (Patrick) Connor, Molly, Dylan; brother – Thomas; brother - Frederick (Michele) Danielle, Blaise, Sydney; brother - Robert (Sharon) Megan, Michael; brother - Peter (Glenda) Kylie; and best friend - Shane Foreman (Michaela).
We will miss him. We will miss him every day, every hour, every minute. We are heartbroken. Our family will never be the same. We hope the pain and grief will one day ease and be replaced with recollections of John that made us smile. We will miss the sound of his voice, gusto of his laugh, hilarious stories, mischievous twinkle in his eyes, half smile, “looks” he could give, wise counsel, salt and pepper beard, and his “show quality” feet. Not a day will go by, not a single day, that we won’t think about him. He is our hero. We are so proud of him. He lived life fully and faced death with incredible dignity and unimaginable courage. We will always save a place for him at the kitchen table, tell his stories, cry, laugh, and raise our glasses to his toast, “La Famiglia!”
John’s family expresses their gratitude to Father Jude Israel for his comforting words and spiritual peace. In lieu of flowers, John wished to be remembered by donating to organizations that help veterans, pancreatic cancer research, or St. Joseph Abbey in Covington, Louisiana. A funeral service will be held on October 12th at 11:30 a.m. in St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church (Gulfport). Friends are invited to visit from 9:30-11:30 a.m. John will be interred with full military honors at the National Cemetery at Biloxi. Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, 15th Street, Gulfport is honored to serve the Gargiulo family. View and sign the online tribute @www.bokfh.com