Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Catherine Ann “Kitty” Cappiello
October 1, 1935 – May 8, 2023
The last of fifteen first generation Italian American children born to Frank and Elizabeth Cappiello, Catherine “Kitty” Cappiello, who noted herself as born at home in Hancock, NY “probably” on October 1, 1935, completed her remarkable life on Monday, May 8, 2023, at the age of 87. She spent her final 42 years as a resident of Yardville, NJ.
Growing up in a home affectionately known as the “Choo-Choo House” for its location next to a railroad track, she recalled a family life that was financially poor, but with happy days filled with homemade pasta, opera music, large Sunday gatherings, pinochle, baseball, and joyous Christmas Eve celebrations. She was a 1954 graduate of Hancock Central High School, and its Class Valedictorian. During high school she was a member of the orchestra, playing cello, as well as participated in Student Council, multiple clubs, and intramural sports. She received both the Daughters of the American Revolution Citizen of the Year and Syracuse University Citizenship Awards, before attending Rider College (NJ), the first member of her family to do so, on academic scholarship. While attending Rider, she was a member of Sigma Iota Chi and on the Dean’s List, President of her student hall, and involved in numerous clubs and organizations, graduating in 3 years with a Bachelor’s degree in Education.
Following college she taught high school business courses in Salem, NJ for one year, followed by 27 years as Office Manager for an industrial and commercial real estate firm in Trenton, NJ, before retiring in 1995.
In 1970, she met her partner Barbara Pearson, remaining together for 48 years until Ms. Pearson’s passing in 2018, including a Civil Union on May 8, 2007, and a joyous marriage ceremony on November 22, 2014. Their nearly 50 years of love and adventure included travel, family, and friends….filled with laughter, song, food, drink (Fireball!), and the pursuit of new experiences and joy. Kitty’s passing on the anniversary of their Civil Union was a final, spiritual reconnection.
Her family included her fourteen siblings and their spouses, more than 35 nieces and nephews, and more than 50 great and great-great nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her siblings, and several nieces and nephews. She is survived by a sister-in-law, Myra Cappiello (Merritt Island, FL), her nieces and nephews, and their children, comprising the families Cappiello, Watson, Hoffman, Fink, Burden, Johnson, and Carle, and friends that she considered family.
Perhaps the only thing greater than the size of her extended family, was the amount of love, humor, and dedication she shared with them. If you were awakened at 6:00 AM on the 4th of July to the music of John Philips Sousa playing at full blast, you were greeted by Aunt Kitty, eagerly “conducting” while pointing to a fully prepared breakfast. Her generosity extended from individual gold monogram rings gifted at 12th birthdays, Christmas presents for every niece and nephew, beach vacations, trips to New York City or Great Adventure amusement park, over-the-top (and often R-rated) college “Care Packages”, Girls’ Weekends, and annual New Year’s Eve parties with memorable themed skits. She was a skilled carpenter, building not only her kitchen cabinets, but custom projects for anyone who requested. During her retirement she became a Certified Computer Repair Technician, and learned to play the piano. In 2010, she completed several years work on a 120-page family genealogy, printing and providing copies for every family member. While proudly sharing how she inherited the “cheap gene” from her father, she routinely opened her home to family members in need, and provided financial support for siblings, nieces or nephews - telling no one, and asking nothing in return.
There was no joke Kitty did not find funny, no political issue about which she was not informed, no adventure she wasn’t prepared to pursue (except flying, because “the only reason planes fly is because everyone on board believes they do”). There was no amount of love she provided that could ever be fully measured.
Brilliant, kind, fun, and loving, she set an example and touched the lives of everyone she knew in positive ways… the very definition of a “life well lived”.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at 12:30 PM at the Hamilton Brenna-Cellini Funeral Home, 2365 Whitehorse-Mercerville Rd., Hamilton, NJ 08619. Burial will follow in Princeton Memorial Park, 403 Gordon Rd., Robbinsville, NJ. Family and friends may pay their respects Tuesday from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to a charity of meaning to the giver…in honor of the uncounted number of “$25 checks” written to numerous charities by Kitty. Please visit Kitty’s tribute page at www.brennacellinifuneralhomes.com