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Salvatore F. CatulloFebruary 11, 1923 ~ June 23, 2017 (age 94)
Salvatore Francesco Catullo, age 94, of Wilmington, DE, passed away Friday, June 23, 2017, with his devoted family at his side. Sal was born in Milazzo, Sicily, on February 11, 1923 to the late Maria Carlotta (DePasquale) Catullo and Antonio Catullo.
After the impact of World War I brought economic hardship to the island, the family relocated to Genoa when Sal was a young boy to join extended family in hopes of building a new life for themselves and their children.
Having a sense of adventure and wanting to see more of the world, in his early teens Sal became a merchant marine working for Italian cruise lines which, along with more exotic destinations, travelled often to the New York City port. He became quite adept at world travel at an early age and was schooled in and developed a fluency in a number of languages. He left the merchant marines in his late teens to further his education and pursue a career in banking but then decided on a military career and graduated from a naval training academy.
Sal was a decorated war veteran having served in the Italian Navy during WW II. He was seriously wounded and saw many of his crewmates lose their lives when their battleship was bombed by the German military in retaliation for the Italians surrendering to the Allies. Sal had to abandon his plans for a naval career after a lengthy recuperation and lasting health concerns. He then decided to come to the United States to seek other opportunities. He was aided in his quest for citizenship and establishing himself in this area by Rev. Francis Tucker and Rev. Roberto Balducelli of St. Anthony's Parish. He was also supported by his Aunt Josephine (Catullo) Greco and Uncle Orazio Greco in Philadelphia, his Aunt Mattia (DePasquale) Buonanotte and Uncle Rosario Buonanotte in Wilmington, as well as his Rhodes family in-laws after his marriage, and deeply appreciated, in the absence of his own family, all of their close family ties and family gatherings.
Sal decided to remain in Wilmington after he met his future wife, Marie V. Rhodes. After working briefly in other industries, he started a lengthy and fulfilling career in the retail clothing industry working for Kennard's department store until it disbanded and continuing to work well beyond retirement years at several JC Penney store locations.
He was a past member of the Giuseppe Verdi Italian Lodge and enjoyed the camaraderie at the club and attending the Italian festival with friends and family over the years. Along with Marie, Sal was a longtime member of the Absalom Jones Senior Center, where he greatly enjoyed the friendships he made there and day to day activities and served as an RSVP volunteer. In his later years, Sal was most content in the company of his family and enjoyed doing crossword puzzles, sudoku, and reading financial papers. Sal's greatest joy was visiting family and friends in Genoa over the years.
He was a faithful parishioner at both Our Lady of Fatima and St. John the Beloved Parishes over his lifetime.
Sal will be deeply missed by his wife of 67 years, Marie; his daughters, Carlotta (Carol) and her husband, Ricardo Narvaez who was also Sal's devoted caregiver of many years, Maryellen Murphy and husband, Gary, and Nancy Catullo; his grandchildren, Kristina and Melanie Murphy, Marcus and Samantha Hearne. He is also survived by his brothers, Damiano Catullo, Enrico Catullo and wife, Flavia all of Genoa. Additional survivors include Chuck and Joyce Krzywosinski, Maryann Merced and their families; cousins, Masina T. DiPatre of Wilmington, Angie, Anthony, and Jim Greco of the Philadelphia area and their families; sisters-in-law, Sr. George Mary Rhodes, OSF, Margaret Haughney, and Rita Minner; many nieces and nephews in the extended Rhodes family. Sal enjoyed dear friendships of many years with Donata Leone and her late husband, Luciano; friend and neighbor, Connie DeBonis; Sr. James Anne Taggart, OSF.
The family wishes to extend their grateful appreciation for many years of diligent medical care provided to Sal by Dr. Franklin Ampadu and Dr. Jose Castro. The family also wishes to thank his Comfort Keeper caregivers, the MICU at Christiana Hospital, and Seasons Hospice for their compassionate care of Sal.
Family and friends are invited to visit at the Doherty Funeral Home, 3200 Limestone Road, Pike Creek on Thursday, June 29 from 5:00-7:00PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. John the Beloved Church, 907 Milltown Road on Friday, June 30 at 10:30AM. Interment will follow in All Saints Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Absalom Jones Senior Center, 310 Kiamensi Rd., Wilm, DE 19804 or the St. Vincent dePaul Society at St. John the Beloved Parish, 907 Milltown Rd., Wilm., DE 19808.
St. Vincent DePaul Society c/o St. John the Beloved Church
907 Milltown Road, Wilmington DE 19808
Absalom Jones Senior Center
310 Kiamensi Road, Wilmington DE 19804