USA Judo is saddened by the loss of athlete Mark Pasquinelly (Maumee, Ohio) who died Nov. 13 at St. Luke's Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. Pasquinelly was celebrating at his 50th birthday party when he collapsed of an apparent heart attack.
Pasquinelly began his judo career as a shiai competitor before being introduced the discipline of kata in the 1990s by well-known instructor Tony Owed at the University of Toledo.
He took quickly to kata, winning numerous national and international medals, most recently becoming a three-time medalist at the 2005 National Kata Championships in Virginia Beach, Va. Along with partner Al Panackia, Pasquinelly also won a silver medal at this year's Pan American Kata Championships in Caguas, Puerto Rico as well as gold, silver and bronze medals at the 2005 World Masters Championships in Mississauga, Canada.
Pasquinelly spent countless hours giving back to the sport, leading kata clinics around the nation, serving as a USA Judo kata judge and working with athletes at the Toledo-Maumee Judo Club.
"I have known Mark since grade school. He was one of the few people I know who followed the 'Golden Rule,'" said lifelong friend Tom Toth. "He loved his family, his friends and judo. He was a true amateur athlete, he was a humble man and did not accept praise well, but was quick to encourage and praise others."
Pasquinelly was husband to Oralia, father of four daughters and grandfather of two boys and will be greatly missed by the judo community as well as his friends and family throughout the United States.
"Mark and I used to compete against each other years ago and he has always contributed a great deal to the judo community," said USA Judo President Dr. Ron Tripp (Norman, Okla.) "He was one of our most successful kata competitors and did so much to encourage participation in the sport. We all will miss Mark as both a wonderful person and great athlete."
According to the Toledo Blade: "Friends may call at the Coyle Funeral Home 1770 S. Reynolds Road Thursday 1-8 p.m. with a Scripture Service Thursday at 7 p.m. The funeral will begin in the mortuary Friday at 9:15 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in Rosary Cathedral at 10 a.m. Interment St. Joseph's Cemetery, Maumee. Memorials may take the form of a contribution to the Tony Owed Memorial Fund or the Miss Fukuda Scholarship Fund."