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Published: Wednesday, 11/16/2005

Refinery worker won in judo around world

Mark Pasquinelly, 50, who was awarded gold medals at judo competitions around the world, died Sunday in St. Luke's Hospital after collapsing several hours earlier at his 50th birthday party.

Mr. Pasquinelly, of Maumee, was a practitioner for more than five years of a style of judo called kata, which involves partners performing movements in a pre-arranged format.

He and his judo partner, Al Panackia, competed this year at the National Championships in Virginia Beach, Va., the Pan American Championships in Puerto Rico, and the World Masters Competition in Toronto, where they received gold, silver, and bronze medals.

"What made him good at what he was doing was all the practice he put in," Mr. Panackia said.

The pair were named kata competitors of the year in 2002, 2003, and 2004 by the United States Judo Federation and were pictured this year and last in its calendar - for December in 2004 and November this year.

"He was a very modest person, so he never really spoke of [his medals]," his wife, Oralia, said. "He was always striving for the perfect moment."

Mr. Pasquinelly could seem imposing at 5-feet, 9-inches and more than 200 pounds, "but once you talked to him, you found out he was so friendly," Mr. Panackia said.

Mr. Pasquinelly was first exposed to judo while in the Air Force. He was coached by renowned judo teacher Tony Owed, who died in January, 2004, at the University of Toledo.

Mr. Pasquinelly grew up in Point Place and was a 1973 graduate of St. Francis de Sales High School. He was on the wrestling team in high school and competed while in the Air Force.

He worked for more than 20 years at the Sunoco refinery and for the last year was his union's full-time safety representative.

Surviving are his wife, Oralia, whom he married April 30, 1977; daughters, Sarah Pettit and Jessica, Ann, and Ruth Pasquinelly; father and stepmother, Eugene and Nicolette Pasquinelly; brother, Tom Pasquinelly, and two grandsons.

The body will be in the Coyle Funeral Home after 4 p.m. today, with a Scripture service in the mortuary at 7 p.m. tomorrow. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Friday in Rosary Cathedral.

The family suggests tributes to the Tony Owed Memorial Fund, Toledo, or Keiko Fukuda Scholarship Fund, San Francisco.

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