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Cosmo  Frank Guido

Obituary for Cosmo Frank Guido

October 8, 1922 - April 1, 2020
San Antonio, Texas | Age 97


"It's a Wonderful Life" describes the journey of Cosmo Frank Guido who passed away peacefully in his home on April 1st, 2020 of natural causes, surrounded by the love of his family. Cosmo was the second generation to lead Guido Construction, founded by his father in 1927, 93 years ago. He is the epitome of a man of great dignity and supreme humility. In short, Cosmo F. Guido is a city treasure who graced its presence for his 97 years. Cosmo has gone to rest with our Lord, reunited with his wife of 65 years, the love of his life, Antoinette (Toni) Varisco Guido.

Born in San Antonio, Texas on October 8th, 1922, Cosmo was the second child of Louis Lorelli & Florence Guido. According to Cosmo, he began working with his father when he "was knee high to nothing." He graduated from Jefferson High School in1940 where he played the clarinet in the marching band. He was the first generation of his family to proudly attend college and did so at Texas A&M University graduating in 1944 with a degree in Civil Engineering as a member of the Corp of Cadets. In 1943, with just nine credit hours short of graduation, Cosmo was called to serve in the Army during World War II. While in Bryan/College Station, he met his future wife Toni and courted her while she studied at Vassar College. Cosmo ultimately completed his degree, married Toni in 1946, and returned to San Antonio to work as a partner, with his father and uncle, at Guido Brothers Construction Company.

In April 1947, Cosmo's father told him they were going to open a Lumber Company and Cosmo was going to run it. Cosmo knew nothing about the lumber business but rolled up his sleeves and ran Guido Lumber Company from 1947 – 1955. He became a pioneer in this industry, inventing new methods to load and deliver lumber materials without dumping and damaging them. Ultimately, he took the helm of the Guido Companies, building many iconic projects throughout San Antonio and south Texas. During Cosmo's decades long and illustrious career, he rarely missed a day of work, tirelessly doing "whatever it takes" to keep the companies successful through good times and bad. Even in retirement, Cosmo continued to come to his office every day, always smiling and wanting to catch-up on the lives of everyone around him and company affairs.

A major setback of Cosmo's career, but a testament to his character, was his involvement in San Antonio's Hemisfair '68. Against his better judgement but pressured by civic organizers, he reluctantly agreed to complete several projects from which others walked away and, ultimately, was asked to manage all the remaining construction projects for $1. He became the largest creditor of this San Antonio milestone and Guido Companies was severely hampered from this set back which ultimately launched San Antonio on its current explosive trajectory. On the 25th Anniversary of HemisFair in 1993, Lila Cockrell hosted a luncheon "honoring the unsung hero of Hemisfair 68 – Cosmo Guido." Over 750 colleagues, friends and family attended this event, attesting to this proud and humble man's lifelong integrity. Eventually, and not without struggle, Cosmo paid every subcontractor and supplier to whom he owed money.

Cosmo's career was punctuated by countless projects, but also many iconic ones which helped put San Antonio on the map, including HemisFair '68, the restoration of San Fernando Cathedral, the conversion of the Lone Star Brewery to the San Antonio Museum of Art, several projects at the Witte Museum , restoration of the Alamo and the Missions, the Sisters of Charity of Incarnate Word (Village & University), Luby's Cafeteria Corporate Headquarters, Botanical Gardens, Papal Mass Site, and the moving and restoration of the Fairmont Hotel. These and other construction projects demonstrated Cosmo's belief that nothing is impossible when one decides to take on tasks that seem bigger than life itself. He demonstrated that it is possible to meet the challenges head on with a smile and positive attitude, putting forth all his past experiences to meet the challenge. Pride in superior workmanship, true craftsmanship, ingenuity, love of his Company and public community, integrity, commitment, authenticity, and his innate ability to develop and nurture relationships are the most important components to his success.

Cosmo led a life of service marked by faith and family. He was an active member of San Francesco di Paola Catholic Church (built by his father in 1927), the Christopher Columbus Society, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, and later St. Luke Catholic Church. He was a founding member of the Archdiocese Building Board where he served for 50 years. Cosmo also served on the Board and President (1958) of the San Antonio Texas A&M Club and was a proud member of the A&M Century Club. He, and other members, donated material and manpower to build Aggie Park and was actively involved in the fundraising Stag (later Family) BBQ, grilling chickens with his many friends for years.

Cosmo served as Director and President of the San Antonio Associated General Contractors (1959 -1963); Director and President of the San Antonio Builder's Exchange (1961-1967); Oak Hills Country Club Board and President (1978-1981) National Lumber Dealers Association Director & National President (1972-1977). He once said that he could not believe that the son of an Italian immigrant could rise to serve in such prominent positions.

Cosmo also faithfully served 25 years as the executor of the Brazos Varisco (his father-in-law) Estate in Bryan Texas. With the help of friends and colleagues, Norman Saathoff and later Jack Hudkins, both of Frost Bank, Cosmo traveled to Bryan weekly over these several decades to manage and resolve business issues, leaving San Antonio at 7 am and returning the next day at 6pm. . He was tirelessly committed to this and everything he touched.

Cosmo was well known and highly respected in the San Antonio building community and among his national colleagues. He mentored many young professionals as they learned the Architectural/Engineering/Construction trade he so deeply loved. His integrity, dedication to fairness, and his ability to "befriend and relate to anyone" are trademarks of his legacy. Among his numerous awards include the San Antonio TAMU Polly Krueger Award and most recently, the Robert H. Hugman Award from the San Antonio Tourism Industry, and the San Antonio Independent School District Inspire Award.

Beyond all, Cosmo was devoted to his family and his friends. He lovingly cared for his mother and mother in law throughout their lives, adored his wife Toni, his beautiful children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. If you were, or one of yours, was at home and sick, you could count on Cosmo to stop over before and after work to make sure you were ok. Cosmo had many hobbies; always tinkering in his basement shop, golfing and bridge with Toni, gardening, making homemade pasta and perfecting his wine-making skills - the Guido kitchen was always open for his family and friends.

Cosmo is survived by his beloved children: Brazos Guido, Tom Guido & wife Maryanne, Florence M. Guido, and Antoinette Guido Browning, 13 grandchildren and their spouses, eight great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and a wealth of dear and devoted friends.

Our family wishes to thank Cosmo's devoted caregivers during his end of life, including Juanita Maciel, Jack Nichols, Stacey Martinez, Laurie Duke and the kind staff Amedisys Hospice of San Antonio. Cosmo's legacy will live on in the countless people and institutions he helped during his long and faithful life.

A celebration of Cosmo's life will occur at a future date. During these challenging times, the family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the following charities: The Witte Museum, San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio Museum of Art, The Village of Incarnate Word, San Antonio Independent School District Foundation, Texas A&M University or a charity of your choice. Let the Legacy of the Servant Leader Live on!

Services Pending. Please check back for further information.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • During these challenging times, the family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the following charities: The Witte Museum, San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio Museum of Art, The Village of Incarnate Word, San Antonio Independent School District

Arrangements By

Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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