Joseph G. Agnello

From the ASHA LEADER, October, 2016: Deaths - Joseph Agnello, 84, on July 12, 2016, in Cleveland. Agnello received his bachelor's (1957) and master's (1959) degrees from Western Michigan University and a PhD in speech and hearing science, physiological psychology and experimental phonetics from Ohio State University (1963), where he worked as a research assistant while completing his doctoral requirements. Angelo was an assistant professor at Temple University in Philadelphia and then at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He also completed work as a Fulbright, developing the Gemilli Phonetics Lab at the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Istituto di Psicologia in Milan, Italy. He eventually moved to the University of Cincinnati where, after 29 years of service, he retired as professor emeritus in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. During his time at the university, he was professor of speech and hearing science, director of the Intensive Stutter Therapy Program and director of the Experimental Phonetics Laboratory. Agnello, who stuttered, produced research and writing on stuttering and experimental phonetics, culminating in the development of a computer program for the recognition, differentiation and diagnosis of stutter speech. He also developed instrumentation for the measurement of speech, acoustic and physiological units An ASHA Fellow, Agnello presented papers at many national and international conferences, and trained numerous SLPs in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

From online obituary Corrigan Craciun Funeral Home, Fairview Park, Ohio: Joseph G. Agnello PHD. June 15,1932-July 12, 2016) Passed away peacefully in the presence of family and friends on Tuesday July 12, 2016. Dearly beloved husband of Lois Nonneman Agnello, and the late Norma (nee Levy), loving father of Timothy (Giovanna Piraino), Janice (Allen) Jarboe, and Michael, dearest grandfather of Madison, Jacob, Zachary and Maria, dear brother of John (Mary Lou), William (Deana), Gordon (Margaret), and the following deceased Jiacumino, Anna (Raymond) Frank, Tina ( Benjamin) Kucharski, Saturnia (John) Hallman, Dolores (Paul) Lamb, and dear friend of many including his beloved dog Marcel. Joseph was a Fulbright Scholar, and Emeritus Professor of Speech and Hearing Science, specializing in stutter speech. Funeral Mass Saturday 12 noon at St. Christopher Catholic Church 20141 Detroit Rd. Rocky River Ohio 44116. In Lieu of flowers family suggest donation to the Stuttering Foundation of America.

Online examples of Dr. Agnello's Professional Contributions

A Study of Intra- and Inter-Phrasal Pauses and Their Relationship to the Rate of Speech PhD dissertation, The Ohio State University. (According to Dr. John Black, this was the most requested PhD at Ohio State at the time). p. 124 contains the following autobiographical information:

CHANGE: POTENTIAL QUALITIES BECOME ACTUALITIES by Joseph G. Agnello, University of Cincinnati, an article written for the Stuttering Foundation of America's Self Therapy for the Stutterer, added to the Stuttering Home Page with permission of the author, September 21, 1999. The article relates information about his speech therapy with Charles Van Riper

"Therapy Guide: A model of computerized recognition of stuttered speech has diagnostic and treatment applications" by Abigail Scott, an an assistant editor at ADVANCE, posted May 11, 1998. An article about "the artificial intelligence system for stuttered speech recognition and therapy (AISSTT) [which] recognizes the characteristics of an abrupt onset of stuttered speech, according to Joseph G. Agnello, PhD, CCC-SLP, professor in the department of Speech Communication Sciences and Disorders at the university of Cincinnati in Ohio, who developed the system with Perry W. Alexander, of the Department of Computer Engineering at the university, and input from Marcel Wingate, PhD, CCC-SLP, of the University of Washington at Pullman."

Listening Preference and Discrimination for Cries of Non-Cleft Palate Children, Repaired Cleft Palate Children, and Non-Repaired Cleft Palate Children by Joseph G. Agnello, Donald A Hess, Willis K. Mylin, and Robert F. Hagerty, The Cleft Palate, 1973

Experiences in Therapy with Charles Van Riper by Joseph G. Agnello - article for the 1999 ISAD online conference. Full article is online as well as the following bio information: "Joe Agnello has a Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Science, Physiological Psychology and Experimental Phonetics from The Ohio State University (1963), and M.S. in Speech Pathology, Audiology and Experimental Psychology from Western Michigan University (1959). He is Professor of Speech and Hearing Science (since 1971), Director of the Intensive Stutter Therapy Program (since 1974) and Director of the Experimental Phonetics Laboratory (since 1971) at the University of Cincinnati. He is a Fellow of the American Speech, Hearing and Language Association and a member of National Research Council scientific community on voice authentication. The focus of his research and writings on stutter speech and experimental phonetics is culminating in the development of a computer program for the recognition, differentiation and diagnosis of stutter speech. He has presented papers at various national and international conferences, and his writings have appeared in professional journals as well as popular publications that address the problems of stutter speech. Dr. Agnello has developed instrumentation for the measurement of speech, acoustic and physiological units, and holds a U.S. patent for the second input channel utilized in the Kay Elemetrics spectrographic analyzer. Dr. Agnello has been a member of the faculty at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1967-71) and Temple University (1963-66). As a Fulbright Scholar (1966-67), he lectured at the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Instituto di Psicologia in Milan, Italy where he was also responsible for rebuilding the Gemelli Laboratory." September 20, 1999

Information and Eulogy for Joe Agnello read by his son, Tim Agnello July 16, 2016

Dad graduated from Western Michigan with BS and MS degree & stuttering therapy with Van Riper. My mother (Norma Levi- dec 1982) who was a speech patholgist set up a meeting for him to see Van Riper. After graduating from Western Van Riper sent him to John Black (advisor at Ohio State) because Dad said that Van Riper did not want any other therapist to undo his work. He graduated from Ohio State with his PhD in 1963. Dad said he had a job offer from Bell Labs as his dissertation was on "pause" or the "silent" (there is not really any silence) portions between stuttered speech which up to that point no one had studied. John Black said it was the most requested dissertation at Ohio State.

He was a full professor retired emeritus at the University of Cincinnati Speech and Hearing Department with 29 years of service. I would have to say he was probably most proud of the group therapy stuttering program he ran (since 1974) and his research and lab he set up for Experimental Phonetics (since 1971) at the University of Cincinnati. Prior to 1971 he taught and conducted therapy at State University of New York and Temple University. The focus of his research and writings centered on stuttered speech and experimental phonetics. Dad helped many stutters following Van Ripers therapy (each group session had anywhere from 6-10 participants-which I also observed and if memory serves me right) and trained speech pathologist in stuttering therapy. I believe Dr Van Riper referred your father to my father for therapy probably sometime between 1963 and early 70's. He trained numerous speech pathologist working in the tri-state region of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. Ironically, my daughter Maria (9 years old) stutters and she sees a speech patholigist (in her 50's) at Childrens Hospital who specializes in stuttering treatment and was trained by my father.

Eulogy: Dad loved "Ava Maria" (song just heard, very beautiful) which we just heard. Dad was truly smiling hearing that song and seeing all of us gathered together.

This is a quote from one of Dad's favorite individuals, I think of this because it was truly a gift to have him with us for 84 for years but it was especially a blessing to have him for the last two years thanks to a lot of love from those around him. This quote is from Abraham Lincoln and applies to my dad's last two years, "when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on". More importantly Abraham Lincoln had a keen insight when he said "In the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." My dad had a lot of life in his years.

Dad lived a fruitful life and had a positive impact on many people. One of my best friends described dad as a GENEROUS SOUL. I particularly like these two words to describe dad's life with generosity spread to others through his words, action, and time he spent with others.

Dad from an early age had to overcome a severe handicap with stuttering. In his late 20's he overcame this handicap, although he battled with it all his life. I think the turning point for my dad was the realization of his perception of how he viewed his stuttering and his perception of other people that he interacted with when he was talking. (Relayed to me by Joe Swallow at the funeral home just prior to mass: "HiGuy" is what his fraternity brothers called their annual meeting for past 60 years which was a tribute to dad. Dad had a hard time since he stuttered saying Hi Tom, Hi Bud, Hi Joe, Hi Paul, but was adept at saying Hi Guy!) This realization and with generous help of others in his life gave him great insight and shaped his life. He was often angry with others growing up. He obviously overcame this. He turned his handicap into his asset.

As he became an adult he turned his stuttering weakness into his strength. Overcoming great psychological obstacles, having failed the 1st grade several times. This did not slow my dad down as he enrolled himself in 3+ summer school sessions to keep up with his football buddies at Northeastern. A powerhouse football team in Detroit. He was expelled from college because he argued with the dean of the college who told him he could not be a speech pathologist since he stuttered. With help from my mom and several influential professors (Van Riper, John Black) he persevered (overcoming anger) and received his PhD at Ohio State becoming an expert in speech therapy/stuttering. John Black, his major advisor said his PhD dissertation was the most requested document at Ohio State. Truly God was watching over him and preparing him to help others who stuttered, eventually running a very successful group stuttering therapy clinic for years treating people of every socio-economic background. Dad had several inventions that are incorporated into the voice recognition software of today. Further, dad passed his legacy on through the many speech therapist he taught who now work in the public schools and private sector.

When he was a child and through I believe his college years he was called "Tutor" what a fitting nickname and premonition of things to come. He "tutored" numerous students at the University of Cincinnati for 29 years. Additionally, dad inspired many lives outside the educational setting, including many friends of all ages and backgrounds.

He always told me, Jan, and Mike to be patient, kind, and loving to each other and others. I think of this often especially after I have gotten angry at someone. Growing up he instilled in us laughter-as all of you know he told many funny stories many of which not always but most of the time gave us insight into some aspect of life. Also he taught us to have fun-laugh at ourselves, be positive, and have an optimistic outlook on life.

His passion for the things he did and accomplished in life were endless from painting a picture of Maria in the last years using his right hand because his dominant left hand was paralyzed to tending to his fish pond that the pelicans loved. No question his passion was diverse from the simple task of his teaching which absolutely followed inJesus's footsteps to cooking meals and getting flowers for Lois. He was always thinking of others and trying to help. His last task that he was attempting to finish was with his good friend Mir, expanding the deck in our Lake George home. Right to the end he was thinking of his family and I believe he sees this as a gathering place for us to come together as a family, immediate and extended. He built his family a castle inMichigan...forever making plans to improve it. Dad had a plan in which we could make more good memories and remember many times together. To dad Michigan was a place where we all be safe and could gather as a loving family if hardship hit.

As the grandfather of Zak, Maddi, Jacob, & Maria, grandpa had a strong influence in all of their lives. I think I can speak on behalf of Zak, Jacob, Maria and myself - that he not only excelled as a grandfather, he was a best friend, a mentor, funny and a teacher we all want to be like when we grow up.

All of you have your own stories. Of the great times and memories you shared with dad. Please share your stories with us in the future for they are healing to us. He has personally shaped and influenced us all. He inspires us, motivates us and his spirt will forever live in our hearts. Do not be sad but rejoice for I'm sure the saints and angels in heaven all stood as he walked passed them on his way to meet God.

As all of you do, his immediate family love him dearly-Lois, Janice, Michael, Allen, Jennifer, Jacob, Zak, Madison, Maria, Anita, Elaine, Jenifer, Jason, and Julie (in heaven)we asked that you pray for dad. As a family we would like to thank Lois for giving him many quality years on earth to continue to be a loving dedicated husband and father.

My dad led his life following John 15 and we shouldn't be sad but rejoice and see dad as an inspiration to all of us. I want to leave you with one last thought from bible verse John:15 "This is my precept: that you love one another, just as I have loved you."

Others Remember

  • Terri Hollenkamp Dr. Agnello was highly insightful into human behavior and had a natural ability to make people feel comfortable, especially when they really weren't initially comfortable. He would point out the "elephant in the room" and next thing you knew, you were laughing at yourself. It is what made him so good at treating stuttering. In graduate school, I worked as Dr. Agnello's TA during his stuttering clinic program. Repeatedly I watched him break down barriers, help people decrease their stuttering behavior, and become overall happier people by improving quality of life and access to opportunity. Although Dr. Agnello's passion will truly be missed, it lives in the hearts of all of the student therapists he trained and the participants he treated. October 18, 2016

    Others may share their memories by emailing judith dot kuster at mnsu dot edu

    This page added October 1, 2016 with much information gratefully shared by Tim Agnello, Joe's son

    last modified October 18, 2016