Charles John Cattel Sr. 95, of West Harford passed away peacefully on Wednesday September 9, 2020. Charlie leaves behind his loving wife of 67 years Barbara Barry Cattel.
Charles was born on October 5, 1924 to the late John and Angela (Bergamo) Cattel. He was born and raised in Fitchburg MA. He graduated from St. Bernard’s High School in 1942. He attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and graduated in 1949. He thoroughly enjoyed his alma mater and often went to class reunions. In 1999, the College of the Holy Cross Alumni Association honored him with an award for the completion of fifty years of service to the College and was appointed a member of the order of the Purple Knights.
During the college years, he left to enlist in the service as a World War II Navy Seabee. He was stationed on Tinian where they built the air strips for the Enola Gay, the plane dropped the atom bomb. He received the World War II Victory Medal, American Theatre Medal and Asiatic-Pacific Theatre Medal (1 Bronze Star). He loved the military and loved talking about his Military experiences of the War to anyone who stopped to thank him and ask about his service. One of his highlights later in life was being on the Honor Flight New England Tour to Washington DC with his fellow World War II Veterans. Our family flew down and joined our cousins as we traveled to all the different Washington Memorial’s with them. He belonged to the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans.
During his return to Holy Cross, after the War, he was reunited with his best friend John Barry, his high school basketball competitor. This is where he met John’s sister Barbara who later became the love of his life.
Charles moved to Harford, Connecticut in 1951 to start his career at Chandler Evans in the accounting department. He moved up the career ladder to become the Director of Pricing and Compliance. He was an expert negotiator. His famous line was “what’s your definition of cost?” He retired in 1989 after 39 years of work. The day he retired he got a hole in one at golf at Rockledge Country Club. He said that if he knew that he would have retired earlier. He belonged to the Institute of Management Accountants.
He married his long-time love Barbara in 1953 and they moved to West Hartford in 1954. He became quite active in the community as well as St. Brigid School and Church. He was the treasurer of the Home School Association for many years. He counted money the fourth Sunday of every month. He worked on the Bingo crew where he met great friends who later became the ‘Card Group”. He was often found at the Spaghetti Night Supper Events and even challenging Sr Eileen, the School Principal as to who made the best sauce and meatballs.
Charlie loved to travel with his wife, family, and his work friends. They loved spending their winters in Florida with friends and family. My dad often would say especially in the later years, where are we going now. Anytime a trip discussion came up, it was a family adventure of children, cousins, sisters, brothers, aunts,and uncles, because everyone was coming. He always wanted to go to the National World War II Museum. He heard that the St. Brigid Ladies Travel Group were going, and he was determined to go on it because he was a Charter Member of the Museum. He did not care if it was a 11-daybus trip to New Orleans, he was going. It was his final group travel in which we will never forget it and he loved every minute of it.
The only thing better than a trip was one of the many Cattel Family Parties at Brian Road which included Birthdays, Graduation Fest, Wedding Fest, Family Fest and especially Charlie Fest. He loved to have his family and friends around him. He also loved to play pokerwith the “card group” who became his best friends. As he retired, he loved playing Golf with his buddies at Rockledge CC. He won multiple awards for the most rounds of golf in a season. We often had family golf outings on holidays. He loved to play solitaire and sudoku and became a puzzle man during the quarantine.
His love of basketball starting at a young age, his High School Basketball team made the New England Championship. His team has a display in the Basketball Hall of Fame, not bad for a 5’4 forward. He and Barbara loved watching sports together and there was only one team, Boston! It did not matter the sport, the one exception, UCONN Woman’s Basketball. He loved to watch them play and often had to stop what they were doing to watch a game. When his children, grand kids and great grandchildren played any support, you could see the smile and pride as their biggest fan.
Charlie loved his Italian Heritage and made many trips to Italy to visit the family Castle. His parents came from Revine Lago, Italy and they came to have a better life. Charlie and his family always believed in living life to the fullest which he did every day. His love of family and friends and living life to the fullest is the legacy that we will continue and be forever embedded in our hearts. We will always remember his smiling face.
He leaves behind his children, Charles Jr. (Mitzy) of Wethersfield. Robert(Vikki) of Englewood, Florida, Mark (Lauren)of Rocky Hill and Christine (John) of West Hartford. He had a special spot for his 5 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren, and his numerous nieces, nephews and his relatives in Italy. He was predeceased by his son David as well as his two brothers and six sisters.
Calling hours for family will be from 9:30-10:30 am, Monday September 14, at the Sheehan-Hilborn-Breen Funeral Home, 1084 New Britain Ave, West Harford. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am at St Brigid Church,1088 New Britain Ave, West Hartford. Burial will follow in Fairview Cemetery in West Harford. A celebration of life will also happen later because Charlie always liked a good party. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to St Brigid Church. We understand the current difficult traveling climate and therefore we are offering a live viewing of the Mass and to extend online condolences, please visit www.SheehanHilbornBreen.com