Joseph Frank Citro died suddenly on Monday, July 20, 2020, after a brief illness at his home on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, at age 79. He is sorely missed by his loving wife of 55 years, Constance Forbes Citro, his son, Jeremy (Sue) of Worcester, MA, his brother Frank (Ann Willems) of Rochester, NY, his sister-in-law Susan Forbes Martin of Brookline, MA, and his nephews Jamie, Tad, and Jon Martin. He was born on February 15, 1941, in Rochester to the late Frank Louis Citro and Audrey Stadler Citro and grew up in Chili Center west of that city. He received B.A., M.A.T., and Ed.D. degrees from the University of Rochester (where he met Connie). He and Connie moved to Washington, DC, in 1967 for Joe to carry out research in the Library of Congress for his dissertation on Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute. Expecting to stay only a year, they fell in love with the Capitol Hill neighborhood and purchased their home in the 100 block of 12th St SE in July 1968. Joe taught American History, Civil War History, and African-American History at Prince George’s Community College from 1969 to his retirement in 2008. He was an inspiring professor who believed in making history real, taking his students on trips to historic sites in and around Washington, DC, and to Civil War battlefield sites. He directed summer institutes for high school teachers funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, including an institute on early slave cultures in the Tidewater/Chesapeake and Carolina Low Country. He was on the board of the Capitol Hill Day School and worked on its move to the Dent School. He organized annual crafts fairs, which were held several years running in the late 1970s at the Eastern Market as a fundraiser for CHDS. These fairs showed the way toward what became the flourishing flea markets at the Eastern Market today. An active member of Christ Church Washington Parish since the early 2000s, after his retirement he served as Junior Warden and Vestry Member and oversaw major renovations of the rectory and the spires on the church tower.
Joe loved coffee, growing flowers, rigorous workouts, visiting wildlife refuges, restoring his and Connie’s 1909 townhouse, and shopping for everything from antique furniture and historical prints and books to clothes to cards for all occasions to healthy food. He also loved keeping up with local real estate trends, having lunch with Connie at Mr. Henry’s and Radici, and reading the Washington Post and New York Times cover to cover every day. He had high energy levels and standards for excellence, followed through on everything he undertook, and enjoyed working with people of all ages and backgrounds. He had lymphoma four years ago and worked hard to recover from it and the harsh chemo treatments. He never gave up, always had a smile and a warm word of welcome for everyone he met, and was truly a “light bright shining” for the many people who knew and loved him.
Contributions may be made in his memory to Christ Church Washington Parish, 620 G St, SE., Washington, DC. Interment is private. A memorial service will be held at a later time.