Joseph E. Vitale, 41

Engineer worked at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

February 07, 2007

Joseph E. Vitale, an electrical engineer who worked with cancer support groups, died of brain cancer Friday at his Gambrills home. He was 41.

Mr. Vitale was born in Newark, N.J., and raised in Old Bridge, N.Y., and Brick, N.J. After graduating from high school in 1983, he earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., in 1987.

He worked for Bendix Corp. in Towson from 1987 until 1991, when he took a similar position at MSI Inc. in Washington.

Since 1993, he worked at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, where he designed software used to support satellite missions.

Mr. Vitale's brain cancer was diagnosed in 2001.

"He was very courageous during his battle with cancer. He was active with a cancer support group from Anne Arundel Medical Center and several online support groups," said his wife of 11 years, the former Debra L. Stansbury.

"One of his greatest wishes was to take his family to Walt Disney World, a trip he made last September before his cancer returned," she said.

Mr. Vitale enjoyed playing computer games, riding roller coasters and visiting the North Carolina's Outer Banks and Kona Village in Hawaii.

He was a member of Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, 611 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., where a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow.

Also surviving is a son, Andrew Joseph Vitale, 1; a daughter, Emily Hope Vitale, 3; his mother, JoAnn Bonnett of Toms River, N.J.; his maternal grandfather, Joseph Vitale of Toms River; several aunts, uncles and cousins.

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