Joan LaRita Gottardi\r\nWaterville: Joan "Jo" Gottardi, 88, a Waterville native, passed peacefully shrouded in the arms of our Lord on January 18, 2021. Jo was born on July 29, 1932, to George (Rahen) Elias and Sadie (Mitchell) Elias. The oldest of three children, Jo served as the leader, taking on her role as the eldest child to her two brothers Donnie and Bobby. On November 7, 1954, she married the love of her life, then-Capt. Carl E. Gottardi, at St. Joseph Maronite Church with full military honors. After their marriage, Jo and Carl, spent time abroad in Germany while Carl served with the 3rd Armored Division. During their time in Germany, they travelled throughout Europe where Jo thrived as a military wife, relishing the complexities of entertaining military officers and wives. Carl was a highly decorated military officer and Jo proudly supported him, the United States Army, and her role as a military wife. Her dedication to her country would bring her to many destinations across the globe. Upon returning to the United States, Jo and her family lived for periods of time in Fort Williams and Portland, Maine, Springfield, Long Meadow, and Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and Port Charlotte, Florida. Upon returning to Maine, she and Carl lived in Skowhegan before finally Jo settled back in her hometown of Waterville. \r\nWhen asked what the key to a long, happy life is, Jo recently responded: "A wonderful family." Her family would agree that Jo's presence and can-do attitude made life that much sweeter. Jo was always willing to help family, no matter the situation, and always did so with grace and sophistication. In her leisure time, Jo enjoyed both social activities and more introspective time. She loved to golf, play cards, and participated in bowling clubs--all of which she partook with a vigor and competitive nature which those who were not close to her would find surprising. \r\nA resilient widow for 21 years, Jo filled all hours of the day. Whether sitting quietly watching the ducks at home or volunteering with the Rosary Sodality, St. Joseph's Christmas Bazaar overseeing the bake sale table, the Maine Children's Home, or at the Taste of Waterville. She was an avid cook and feeding people brought her visible joy. Upon entering her home you could often smell fresh Zataar in her kitchen and leave with her filling your arms with bags of Fatayers to enjoy later. As her granddaughters and great granddaughters showed interest, she passed on many of her mouth-watering recipes and cooking secrets and specifically enjoyed time in the kitchen with her granddaughter Nikki, who carries on her Sitto's legacy of feeding family with delicious Lebanese food. For those lucky enough to have tasted Jo's creations at the Taste of Waterville, they know that Jo added love to all her cooking.\r\nAlways proper, but never a pushover; independent, while compassionate and generous; Jo lived her life with a grace that will be remembered fondly. Her family and closest friends recall vividly the sounds of her footsteps as she entered their homes carrying platters of food, a smile, and words of wisdom. Her presence; her laughter; and her general benevolence will be missed in this physical world. \r\nJo was predeceased by her younger brothers, Donnie Elias and Bobby Elias; her husband, LTC (Ret.) Carl E. Gottardi, and her son-in-law, Darrell Mitchell. Jo is survived by her children, Donna-Jo (Gottardi) Mitchell and Carl Gottardi II; grandchildren Major Eric Mitchell and his wife Kate Mitchell, Tim Mitchell and his wife Bridgette Mitchell, Nicole (Mitchell) Libby and her husband Lance Libby, and Nina Rose Mitchell; great grandchildren Ava and Lydia Libby and Ryder and Brady Mitchell; as well as cousins including Larry Mitchell, Carlene Kemp, and Sandy Morin.\r\nA COVID-safe service will take place later in the year at the Maine Veteran's Memorial Cemetery in Augusta.\r\nArrangements are under the direction and care of Gallant Funeral Home, 10 Elm Street, Waterville. An online guestbook may be signed, condolences and memories shared at www.gallantfh.com\r\nDonations can be made to St. Joseph Maronite Church endowment fund, 3 Appleton Street, Waterville, Maine 04901 in Jo's memory.