GIRARD — With great sadness, the Cataffa family announces the passing of Rich Cataffa, 79, on Sunday morning, Oct. 2, 2022. He died peacefully in his sleep just a couple of weeks before the fourth anniversary of his wife’s passing.
Richard Gene Cataffa was born Feb. 18, 1943, in Girard, the firstborn son of the late Mary Senediak Cataffa and John Cataffa.
A lifelong Girard resident, Rich graduated from Girard High School in 1961, where he excelled in basketball as “the shortest center in the Steel Valley Conference,” as he used to joke. His time on the court inspired a lifetime love of fitness and sports. A competitive bodybuilder in his youth, Rich’s early morning gym ritual began in high school and continued throughout his life.
He was a die-hard Cleveland sports fan, always “waiting for next year.”
Following high school, Rich served in the U.S. Army and attended Youngstown State University. He spent his career in management at a variety of Youngstown-area grocery stores and markets. The work suited his affable and engaging personality and his love of good food and wine.
It was in one of those grocery stores where he met the love of his life, Josephine Sorvillo. They both worked during high school at the Fisher Fazio’s on Belmont Avenue, she as a cashier and he as a stock boy. They married at St. Anthony of Padua Church on June 24, 1967.
A lifetime outdoorsman, Rich walked every morning in Liberty Park, enjoying the peaceful landscape he knew from childhood. He spent his life observing the majestic trees as they grew, changed with the seasons, and stoically endured the elements.
Closer to home, he spent his free time gardening, feeding his family from the summer “crops,” not to mention the deer, birds and squirrels that helped themselves to his harvests.
In retirement, Rich enjoyed traveling to the coasts — north, east and west — to spend time with his children and their families. He especially loved his neighbors and their weekly happy hours and movie nights. In the difficult years following his wife’s death, he was sustained by the love, support and healing meals provided by his extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, nieces and nephews.
He will be greatly missed by his beloved children, Rick (Valerie) Cataffa, Scott (Vincent Fecteau) Cataffa, Jeff Cataffa and Sherri (Steve) Schultz; and his cherished grandchildren, Ricky, Bennett, Holden and Delaney.
In addition to his beloved wife and parents, his dear brother, John “Buddy” Cataffa, preceded Rich in death.
Family and friends may pay their respects 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, at Kinnick Funeral Home, 222 S. State St., Girard. Family and friends may gather again from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, at the funeral home.
Funeral services will begin 10:30 a.m. Monday at the funeral home, and continue with a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at 11 a.m. at St. Rose Catholic Church, 48 E. Main St., Girard.
Entombment will follow in Lake Park Cemetery in Youngstown, where Rich will be laid to rest next to his beloved wife.
The family wishes to express gratitude to Saint Rose Catholic Church for the spiritual guidance and support that they offered to Rich and his family.
Those who wish to make memorial contributions are asked to consider a gift to the Girard City Schools for the Sam and Dahlia Pagano Penguin Scholarship Fund.
Please visit kinnickfuneralhome.com to view and share this obituary, and to send condolences to Rich’s family.