Donald Vincent Fandetti, social work professor and Columbia resident, dies

Donald Vincent Fandetti, a retired professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work, died of heart disease Tuesday at Lorien Elkridge rehabilitation center. The Columbia resident was 83.

Born in Providence, R.I., he was the son of Vincent James Fandetti, who worked in building and construction, and his wife, Esther Meluchi.

He obtained a bachelor’s degree at Providence College.

He served in the Army, training at the Army Armor School at Fort Knox, Ky. He became a tank unit commander in Korea.

After leaving the military he received a master’s degree in social work at Boston University and a doctorate from Columbia University.

He moved to Columbia in 1970, when he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Social Work. He retired in 2010.

“Don was a longtime faculty member and social policy analyst,” said the school’s dean, Richard Barth. “He was loved by his colleagues and students because of his deep commitment and compassion and his bright ways. We are fortunate to have had him in our school, where he was one of our very formative faculty."

Geoffrey Greif, a fellow professor at the School of Social Work, said: “Don was a warm person and always had a kind word for all his colleagues. His students liked him for his humor, wisdom and for his insights into cutting-edge social policy issues.”

He served on the Howard County Board of Social Services and the National Task Force on Social Services.

He was the author, with John Goldmeier, of a paper, “Social Workers as Culture Mediators in Health Care Settings.”

Interested in Italian culture, he visited the country on four occasions and spoke its language fluently. He also studied and played classical guitar.

A Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church in Fulton.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Kay Forbes, a clinical social worker; a son, Donald Fandetti of Ridgefield, Conn.; two daughters, Lisa Chodnicki and Elisabeth Craig, both of Clarksville; and nine grandchildren.

-- Jacques Kelly

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