Mario DiGirolamo March 31, 1934 – February 5, 2019 Mario DiGirolamo, age 84, passed away Tuesday, February 5, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Mario, a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and son, was passionate about his family, science, faith, photography, travel, and social justice. Born in Rome, Italy in 1934, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1962 to pursue his medical career at Columbia University in New York City, later moving to Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine in 1968. His medical career at Emory combined clinical care, teaching, and the challenge of clinical research, and he was a mentor to many. In his retirement, he more fully developed his skills as a photographer and was rarely without his camera in hand. With his wife, Gay, he supported, loved and mentored their five children, and enjoyed watching his grandchildren grow and learn. Mario is preceded in death by his son, Michael, and brother, Fausto. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Gay; his children, Ann, Paul, Julia, and Mark; daughter-in-law, Talya Trudell DiGirolamo and son-in-law, Chris Scott; and his grandchildren, Cristian DiGirolamo, Maia DiGirolamo, and Isaiah and Minnie Scott, all of Atlanta, Georgia. He is also survived in Italy by his brothers Alberto and Carlo DiGirolamo, his sister, Maria Grazia DiGirolamo Suzzi, and their families. A Memorial Mass will be held at 1 pm on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (353 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308). In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Doctors Without Borders (

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  1. I’ve been trying to prepare myself for this day for the past couple of years but I still wasn’t ready. My dad was a great man and he will be sorely missed. I am eternally grateful that I had him in my life for so long and that I was able to see him often. He was 84 years old, married to my mom for 55 years, and had a long, full and adventurous life. Born and raised in Rome, Italy, he left a comfortable life surrounded by family to come to the States alone and pursue his dreams. A brilliant scientist and researcher, respected teacher, gifted photographer, devoted father of 5 and grandfather of 4, he never stopped learning, growing, and challenging himself. He instilled in me a love of nature and the outdoors, travel, art and Italian culture.  He loved to hike, camp, fish, play tennis and basketball, and visit museums. He gave generously to charity and humanitarian causes and never cared much for material things except art, books and the roof over his family’s head. He had “the patience of Job”, and some of my best, most vivid childhood memories are of summer camping trips with all seven of us piled into a ’73 VW poptop camper. He worked hard his whole life to provide for us and make sure we were well taken care of, and worked on his photography that he loved so much right up until the end. He was a strong, dignified man that rarely asked for help but was always there to help us no matter what. I will miss his strength, his guidance and wisdom, and the security of knowing he was always there to love and support me unconditionally. I will miss our Friday lunches that always went by too fast, our political discussions, and the olives he always had for me.  I will miss our family meetings and dinners together, the holiday gatherings that will never be the same, his quiet warm smile and reassuring presence as he relaxed in his favorite chair. Rest in peace dad, we love you. You will never be forgotten.  

  2. A Joyful Look Back at Mario DiGirolamo the Man, the Friend, the Photographer
    You can hear a radio interview with Mario.

    Mario DiGirolamo has been a good friend to me and to all of us at our A2D Photography Group. I can still see Mario in my mind’s eye striding into our weekly Friday gatherings of fellow photographers with his lanky dignified presence; always genuine, always friendly and debonair…. A noble presence with a warm gregarious smile, a friend to all of us. I knew Mario not only as a companion and colleague amongst all of us photographers in A2D but also as a singularly talented man.

    His contribution to and passion for photography was prolific. The images and scenes he observed and truly saw through his Mario eyes, and captured through the lenses of countless cameras that he had possessed from the time he was a young boy in Italy were the extension of his enthusiasm for the visual; and his desire to share those visions through his photography.

    He cherished cameras and the photographs that issued forth, first on film and then digital; not just as tools to discover the essence of a vision that was laid out before him to discover, but also to offer those revelations over the decades to people he never met through the medium of photography and his two books.

    Mario had a great eye, particularly for people shots and the human condition as told through the pages of his published works. He would want each of us to have a look at some of the images that he captured and created through his natural talent and observation of his world and ours…. both in Italy from where his Visione sprang and grew to an international forum of devotees of his imagery.

    I was lucky enough to have lived and worked in Italy for a time as a photojournalist and learned to speak Italian, and when it was my good fortune to become a member of A2D Photography Group; and by chance, the result of an Italian cosmic concept…La Forza del Destino; that loosely translates to The Fickle Finger of Fate; I met Mario the photographer and the Italian.

    It has been a great joy to share these two avocations with Mario, to speak with him in Italian and to speak the language of photography with him.

    I will certainly miss seeing Mario on our A2D Fridays, but he’ll never be far away. I have the rich memories of a friendship, and two books of Mario’s photography that he gave me as gifts a few years ago, which he personally signed with very thoughtful expressions of friendship and respect to me, as a fellow photographer and Italophile. They are Mario DiGirolamo’s two published books of his photography, “Visione” ‘A MidCentury Photographic Memoir’ and Sole E Ombra ‘Sun and Shadow’.

    In Italian when one says goodbye to a friend, that rarely signifies a final goodbye, especially for old friends. We say, Ci Vediamo which means…… See you later, and hopefully that will happen one day with Mario and me and with all of us and Mario.

    There is another Italian phrase that i want to share with Gay and my good friends at A2D which is a little more impenetrable to comprehend, but it suits this moment…of all moments.

    It has to do with all artists whether they be painters or photographers, or musicians….any artist. Art, good art is a combination of talent and luck and persistance, but also about struggle from within and to the audience that we create and present to. The phrase from the Italian that Mario would quickly comprehend is, Nella vita di un artista, forse la morte non è la cosa più difficile. In the life of an artist, perhaps the death is not the most difficult thing. But for Mario, his art was not difficult. It was a blessed gift that he realized very early in his life. And in his passing that gift to him lives on in his images and was a joy to Mario. God bless.

    Jay Kaufman
    A2D Member
    February 2019

  3. I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to Paul and the entire family. So often we have the privelege of knowing someone only because we know their son or daughter. So it was for me that I know Paul. He is a wonderful person who is always kind and respectful to everyone. A truly inspiring friend I am so grateful to know in my life. I am grateful for Mr Digirolamo and his influence on my life through extension in knowing Paul. God Bless all who loved him. I am sorry for your loss.

  4. Mario DiGirolamo
    How sad to say goodbye to you. Always pleasant. Always a gentleman. I was looking for a word to describe how I remember you and I will use Paul’s words “a dignified man”. Loved the basketball games on TV . Always a book on the stand by your chair. Some wonderful photos taken by you. You will be dearly missed.

  5. Deep condolences Paul to you and your family.
    This loss is heartbreaking I know.
    I’m not surprised to read of your Dad’s nature knowing you.

  6. I just found out and am heartbroken. A great man as sincere as his greatness. So easily approachable. He reminded me of my own Dad. I was so proud of myself when I showed him a church in Rome he’d not known about – because that’s the way he made me feel. For the short time I knew him we had many good laughs. (Some at Anne’s expense.). As an old boyfriend it got me in trouble.

  7. Deepest condolences Ann, Maia and your family. I know how hard it is to lose a dad, but know that the love we send to you and your family will see you through it all.

  8. Deepest condolences Ann, Maia and your family. I know how hard it is to lose a dad, but know that the love your family and friends are sending will help you through it.

  9. Paul, a very touching entry you wrote about your dad. I’m so sorry for your loss. My condolences to you and your family.

  10. Mario was a kind and thoughtful colleague who helped teach medical students nutrition. As the Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry, I appreciated that Mario tried to found his lectures on science-based evidence.

  11. When someone we love falls asleep in death the memories we have of them become our treasure, may those cherished memories of a life well lived and Gods promise at John 6:40 bring you a measure of comfort. My condolences to the family.

  12. I had the pleasure of working closely with Mario for the last 7 years. I love his work and always enjoyed helping him preserve and display it. Mario is the reason I joined the A2D photography group and now have many amazing relationships with some of his close friends. I am so grateful that I got the chance to know Mario and Gay. My heart goes out to you and your family Gay. You are missed Mario and many people love and respect you.

  13. I had the opportunity to visit the DiGirolamo home for Talya’s wedding shower and could feel the warmth and love in the beautiful house in a historic part of Atlanta and admired the many family photos and tasteful art throughout the house. What a wonderful family. Paul, what a great tribute to your dad. You are so blessed to be raised by such an amazing man. I am so sorry for such a great loss.

  14. My deepest sympathy and condolences to you all. Dr. D and his clinical nutrition pearls will be remembered by generations of Emory medical students and also by their mentees. On a personal note, I will always appreciate his kindness and collegiality.

  15. To say that Mario was a great man is indisputable. His calm complexity was profound, and is love of humanity brilliantly illustrated in his photography. Words seem so inadequate to describe him; he was, I believe, brushed with the devine. It was an honor to me–to all of us–to know him. I will always remember with love the time spent with him and the warmth and kindness with which he welcomed my son into his family. He is so, so deeply missed.

  16. When choosing a life partner, choosing the family is a major piece of that decision. I met and fell in love with Paul, but I also met and fell in love with Paul’s family. The first time I met Mario, he was very warm and welcoming. He always made sure to have a one on one conversation with me every time I visited – whether it was a big family get together or just a quick visit. He always took the time to get to know me. It made me feel welcome and a part of this beautiful family. When I first started attending family dinners I realized it was tradition for the DiGirolamo’s to have fruit for dessert, and if anyone knows me, I’m crazy for chocolate! So after awhile, at no specific family dinner together, Mario goes into the kitchen and comes back with a small plate of broken off pieces of chocolate. It was such a thoughtful and touching statement. He was reaching out to me in his own way. On a trip to Italy, Mario showed us all around and welcomed me into his family’s homes. He trusted me in becoming his daughter-in-law, becoming part of the DiGirolamo family. Because of Mario and Gay, Paul is the man he is today, the man I fell in love with. I am grateful to have known Mario. He was kind, genuine, complex, strong and wise. His strength and spirit will live on through his beautiful family who loves him so much.

  17. I first met Mario many years ago at a photography exhibit and I was so moved by his work, I bought his first book of photographs. Now and then I would run into Mario, usually at exhibitions or photobook fairs; he was always thoughtful, warm, dignified, and playful—with a twinkle in his eye. We would talk about photography and composition and other photographers’ works. A few years ago Mario approached me about designing and producing a second book of his photographs. The unpublished images he showed to me were truly extraordinary and I was thrilled to help him publish the book, “Visioné.” But it was more than a job; My husband Billy and I had met Gay and the friendship we enjoyed with them was truly a gift. We both feel so fortunate to have known Mario; he was a man of such extraordinary talent and integrity. We will forever miss him. Paul, your tribute to your father is lovely, and our hearts are with you and your family.

  18. Dear Gay,
    I was saddened to hear of the loss of your wonderful Mario. What a beautiful life, filled with so many contributions.

    I was especially touched by the phrase “With his wife, Gay, he supported, loved and mentored their five children…and grandchildren (!)…” I could imagine you lovingly attending to millions of details in your big beautiful family. And I could see your love and grace throughout it all.

    Thank you for your gift of love, kindness, and commitment to Mario, your family, and also to those of us who shared time with you in Atlanta Public Schools.

    I will keep you in my heart, and pray for peace and healing for you and your family.

    With love and respect,
    Arlene Witte
    Music Coordinator/Retired
    Atlanta Public Schools

  19. Dear Gay,
    It is with great sadness that I just learned of Mario’s passing. As one of his the many post-doctoral fellows that worked with Mario, I have to point out that Mario made truly seminal discoveries about the physiology and biochemistry of the adipocyte and pioneered key methods and concepts that helped spark major paradigm shifts in the obesity and metabolism fields. These will always be in the scientific literature. Further, Mario mentored a remarkable number of post-doctoral fellows that themselves became leaders in our field. We still, over 30 years later, are friends. We recite his ‘rules’ and tell stories about our time his lab (and tennis matches) with great fondness. We will be writing about his scientific legacy in the journal Obesity. I will keep you updated.

  20. When I was an intern nearly 3 decades ago at Emory, Dr. DiGirolamo was my ward attending (think at Grady). He was very dignified and very knowledgeable. Back in those days, attendings would take their ward teams to a team lunch at the end of each rotation, I distinctly remember Dr. Digirolamo taking us to a very nice lunch at the faculty club. As an intern, it was a special treat to be treated so nicely by such a senior attending!! Obviously he touched so many lives in so many different ways. May his soul rest in peace.

  21. Dear Gay and Family,
    What sad news to hear of Mario’s passing. Thank you for having it announced in the Obesity and Energetic Offerings newsletter. Mario spent time in the Laboratoires de Recherches Metaboliques (La Tulipe building on Avenue de la Rosarie) in Geneva, Switzerland, when I was a PhD student there in the early 1990s. Mario was a wonderful mentor. He took time to encourage me to talk about my research, and my interpretations of it, and he helped me in my development of scientific inquiry and expression. He also showed me how to peel walnuts (!), and showed me how much better they taste when peeled (an unforgettable lesson). He gave me an original photograph that he took – it is called ‘Her World’. It is a lovely memory of Mario. May you all find peace in your memories of Mario, and all the lives he influenced for the better.

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