By Rita Takahashi
Dr. Mario D’Angeli, a longtime California social worker and social work educator, passed away of congestive heart failure at his Stockton, California home on October 11, 2013. He was 88.
According to his family, he expressed the will to live at least another five years, as he had more work to do in making this planet a better place to live.
A “celebration of his life” was held November 2, 2013, from 2:00pm to 6:00PM at his home. More details about Dr. D’Angeli’s life and achievements are published in his obituary, which can be accessed at www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131015/A_NEWS21/310159996.
During his last public presentation and speech at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in December 2008, he spoke eloquently and passionately about the needs of this world. The progressive thoughts and positions and activist agendas he held when he was an SFSU professor remained vibrantly intact through the years.
It was 60 years ago, in 1953, that Mario D’Angeli became a newly-minted SFSU (then San Francisco State College) social work professor. For the next 43 years, until his SFSU retirement in 1996, he served as a faculty member, course and program planner/developer, curriculum innovator, researcher, writer, administrator, community organizer, advisor, troubleshooter and much more.
Full of energy and drive, Dr. D’Angeli actually did not “retire.” Three years later, he began teaching in the MSW Program at California State University (CSU), Stanislaus in 1996 and continued to teach part-time for over 10 years.
Robin Ringstad, current social work director and department chair of the MSW Program at CSU-Stanislaus, said that, “his expertise and enthusiasm for the curriculum and for the students was always evident and sincerely appreciated by all of us who knew him.”
Dr. D’Angeli worked more than 50 years as a social work professor within the CSU system. Thinking about Dr. D’Angeli, one of his former SFSU faculty colleagues, Margo Okazawa-Rey (now doctoral faculty member at Fielding Graduate University) commented, “What I do remember are his vitality, great sense of humor and commitment to social justice issues. BASW students really appreciated all those qualities. He also had flair, with his dapper dress and signature beret!”
Ellen Dunbar, former director of the social work program at California State University, Stanislaus, and former NASW-CA executive director, captured the influence Dr. D’Angeli had on students and community by saying, “He had such enthusiasm for social work and for social issues. He was active in issues in Stockton and brought social awareness for our students. A great social worker!”
Connecting his long-term legacy and lasting impact, current NASW-CA Executive Director Janlee Wong, and one of his former students, concluded: “There was no better advocate for peace and freedom than Dr. D’Angeli. His many students including myself were inspired by him and will continue his work.”