Joseph A. Armao, 64, EPA official

Posted: October 12, 2012

Joseph J. Armao III, 64, an official with the Philadelphia regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the 1970s, died Sunday, Sept. 30, of lymphoma at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif.

"He adored geology and nature," his wife, Linda, said. "He drove cross-country 12 different times, going to every national park and hiking all over."

The treks began "in the summer after his first year in law school," she said. "Probably our last one was in his 30s."

Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Armao graduated in 1966 from Monsignor Bonner High School, where he was the starting quarterback.

He earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1970 at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an offensive guard on the football team, and graduated from Dickinson School of Law in 1975.

After a year with a Harrisburg law firm, his wife said, he was a lawyer for the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee from 1976 to 1978.

Mr. Armao was chief of Superfund and hazardous-waste enforcement for the EPA's Mid-Atlantic region from 1978 to 1980, and he worked with a Philadelphia law firm from 1980 to 1984, his wife said.

His career then moved to California.

In San Francisco, he was an assistant regional counsel for the EPA until 1987, and, until 2008, chair of the environmental department and environmental litigation partner with the Heller Ehrman firm.

Mr. Armao retired in 2011 after three years as a partner at the Winston & Strawn firm.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Armao is survived by his father, Joseph J. II; a son, Joseph J. IV; three brothers; and two sisters.

A life celebration was set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at the chapel of St. Ignatius College Preparatory School in San Francisco.

Donations may be sent to the school, 2001 37th Ave., San Francisco, Calif. 94116.

Contact Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or

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