In Memory of




Obituary for Jose Belardo III

Rear Admiral (Ret) José Hernandez Belardo III, 56, peacefully departed this life Friday, September 16, 2022, in the presence of his devoted wife, Elaine. Born on June 29, 1966, in Norfolk, Virginia, he was the first child of José Hernandez and Annie (Hawks) Belardo, Jr.

José’s parochial school education began at St. Mary’s Academy and was completed when he graduated from Norfolk Catholic High School in 1984. With solid faith and a heart for service, José went to Virginia Commonwealth University, where he won an Army ROTC scholarship and completed coursework for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work in 1988 and 1990, respectively. While married with children and on active duty, his love of education propelled him to successfully pursue a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from the University of Maryland in 1996 and a Juris Doctor from The University of Baltimore School of Law in 2004.
José pledged Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated, VCU, Eta Xi Chapter, Spring 1985. He was an active servant in military chapels at every duty station/deployment. His membership in professional societies was numerous.

José’s brilliance, kindness, and humility made him an affable leader throughout his 26 years of dedicated service to The Commissioned Corps of The United States Public Health Service and The United States Army. His Army Medical Service Corps duties included deployment to Somalia, Africa, during Operation Restore Hope as the Chief Mental Health Consultant and Chief Family Advocacy Administrator for family-centered and community-based programs at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, and Ft. Bliss, Texas. A desire to practice global social work led José to transfer his commission to the United States Public Health Service in 1995. As the Program Director in the Division of Perinatal Systems and Women’s Health for 12 urban and rural Healthy Start sites, José was passionate about reducing infant mortality rates in targeted areas. In partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, José was the Director of The Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program. Once again, he was able to advocate and stimulate innovative community-based programs that employed prevention strategies to promote access to health care for mothers and children nationwide.

While sustaining programs, professional obligations, and a family, José also maintained rapid response deployment readiness. In 2003, he responded to Hurricane Isabel in Virginia, and in 2005 Hurricane Katrina gave him the opportunity to respond to an even more devastating public health crisis and national emergency. José also aided public health responses in Joplin, Missouri, and Haiti. Aboard the USS Kearsarge amphibious assault ship, José led PHS officers during the Caribbean phase of the Continuing Promise 2008 humanitarian assistance mission. As the mission concluded, his children, Lauren and Jared, joined him on board for a fun week of sailing as part of the Tiger Cruise. In 2010, José boarded the USS Bataan at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, to assist in relief efforts in Haiti after the country was devastated by a 7.0 earthquake. José’s final deployment was to Liberia, West Africa, in 2015 for the Ebola response with USPHS Monrovia Medical Unit Team 4.
Assistant Surgeon General, Rear Admiral José H. Belardo III, retired on September 30, 2016, as Regional Health Administrator (RHA) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health/ Region VII.

José’s work history and schooling paled in comparison to the love, service, and education he gave to his family and community. He was best friend and encourager to his wife of 29 years, Elaine, and best dad and encourager to his three children that he held as his most precious and valuable success, Lauren, Jared, and Morgan. He was the ‘best guy’ and an encourager to family, friends, and colleagues he loved dearly. José loved the Lord with his whole heart and people with the rest.

José is survived by: his parents José Hernandez and Annie (Hawks) Belardo, Jr. of Chesapeake, Virginia; his wife, Elaine (Moore) Belardo, of Lansing, Kansas; his children, Lauren Poe (Isaac), and their expected baby girl due December 2022, of Shawnee, Kansas, Jared Belardo, of Lenexa, Kansas, Morgan Belardo, of Lansing, Kansas; his siblings; Mark A. Belardo, Sr. (Betyshia) of Chesapeake, Virginia; Karen Dickens (Carl) of Manassas, Virginia; and Joanne Williams (Illinoise) of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and a host of dearly loved aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, at the R.L. Leintz Funeral Home. A funeral service will begin at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, at the funeral home. Burial with full military honors will follow at Leavenworth National Cemetery at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, we invite you to be part of the living legacy of José H. Belardo III and support his desire to help others by making a memorial contribution to the dementia empowerment program, The Deeper Window Association 501(c)3, which he founded with his wife, Elaine when he was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Dementia at age 50. Advocating for and acknowledging families facing dementia is what José would do. We will continue his work.

For more information about The Deeper Window Association, you can visit Donate via Venmo or Cash App to @TheDeeperWindow or via Givelify to The Deeper Window Association.

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