Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello was a man of family, a man of service and a man of duty.
That is how Coviello, 65, was remembered at a funeral on Tuesday to memorialize the mayor who died on Jan. 13 from a sudden medical condition.
Flags across Cape Coral have flown at half-staff.
“My husband was a great man,” said Diane, Coviello’s wife. “He was a gentle giant with strength and compassion and love for his family.”
Coviello’s son, Alex, said there were no words to express the influence his father had on him.
“He’s our hero and our best friend,” Alex said. “Dad, you’ll be forever missed and always loved.”
Coviello served as mayor of Cape Coral since 2017. On Wednesday, the city council will meet for the first time since Coviello’s death. They are expected to discuss how to fill the mayoral seat. An appointment could be made or the city could decide to hold a special election.
Coviello was a man of vision and action, said Pearl Taylor, the legislative-executive assistant to the mayor.
“The mayor was a man of vision and action,” Taylor said. “He was not a ‘no-man’ … He was a ‘what will it take to get this done’ man.”
Outside of work, Coviello was a jovial person, said Wally Ilczyszyn, with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.
“He was happy, he was energetic, he was full of fun,” Ilczyszyn said. “He coached junior football and things in the community and that says something.”
Members of the Cape Coral community say they will remember him for his service to others and his advocacy.
“He was so wonderful to a lot of the organizations in our community as well as throughout Lee County,” said Jennifer Nelson, a Cape Coral city councilwoman. “He was a big advocate for my daughter’s school — PACE Center for Girls — and he had the biggest heart.”
Coviello was born on Feb. 8, 1955 in Glen Cove, NY. A graduate of Locust Valley High School, in 1973, Coviello was a three-time All-County football and baseball player. He was inducted into his high school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013, an obituary states.
Coviello graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, in 1977. Coviello was a quarterback for the school’s football team. He was inducted into the F&M Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988.
Coviello moved to Cape Coral in 2000 where he established himself as a pillar in the business community. He found time to coach Pop Warner and the Cape Coral High School football team.
Coviello, who was passionate about the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, served as president of the USMMA Florida Parents Association and Academy Liaison for many congressmen for District 19. He was also instrumental in the dedication of the Merchant Marine Memorial at Veteran’s Memorial Park.
In his private life, he enjoyed fishing, boating, cooking and spending time with his family, according to an obituary.
“His character always put service above self,” Diane said.