Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Had Adventures around the World, Learned Seven Languages Jan. 3, 1970 - July 21, 2017

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Had Adventures around the World, Learned Seven Languages Jan. 3, 1970 - July 21, 2017

Article excerpt

If he was going to do something, Juan "Joji" Maniquis Montelibano did it full tilt. He didn't stop after he was good at it, he stopped when he mastered it.

Over the course of his life he was almost ordained a priest, danced professionally for about a decade, and learned seven languages fluently.

He led an ideal life full of adventure, a well-paying job and a loving family, but throughout it he suffered from anxiety-induced depression.

For more than 10 years, he sought help through medication and therapy, but he never overcame it, his family said. Mr. Montelibano took his own life Friday at his home in Squirrel Hill. He was 47.

He was a man who could tell scores of stories from his adventures across the world, but the one about how he met his wife, Gabriella Gonzalez, stands out. He was working at Harvard University's information technology department part time and had to pick up a computer from the sociology department, where his future wife was working on her Ph.D. He walked by her desk and locked eyes with her. He called his sister, Mara Kim Hiel, that same day to tell her that he had met the woman he wanted to marry.

One day, Ms. Gonzalez brought her broken laptop to his office. He was caught off guard and started to close out the tabs on his computer, trying to hide his searches. She noticed that one of the tabs was about ashtanga yoga. She practiced it, and so did he.

"When he found out about the yoga," she said, "He tried 50 percent more to impress me, and then I brought up my boyfriend."

At that point Mr. Montelibano had a girlfriend, a master's degree in theological studies from Harvard and a master's in chemical engineering from the University of Southern California, and was contemplating giving it all up to become a priest.

But he wanted to marry Ms. Gonzalez more. They ended their respective relationships and married 18 months later. …

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