Gene L. Catena 1930-2019
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Amsterdam – Gene Louis Catena, 88, died at his daughter’s home in Easton, MD on Sunday evening, February 24, 2019. It was a happy death: he received the Holy Bread of Eternal Life as viaticum, prayed the Rosary with his wife, visited with many of his children and grandchildren, and ate his final meal with his family around the kitchen table, all before commending his soul to the Lord of Life later that evening.
Gene was born in Amsterdam, NY on March 29, 1930 to Cornelio Catena and Antonette (Vertucci) Catena.
After attending Amsterdam public schools and graduating from Syracuse University in 1952, he entered the United States Marine Corps and served as an officer in a Marine Corps reconnaissance battalion in Japan. In September of 1954, he entered Albany Law School and just two weeks later, on September 25, 1954, he was united in marriage to Nancy Aulisi at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Amsterdam. After graduating from law school in 1957, Gene entered into private practice with his brother-in-law Michael Riccio. In 1973, he was appointed Montgomery County Family Court Judge by Governor Nelson Rockefeller and was subsequently elected to two terms, retiring in 1994.
During his years working and raising a family, Gene served the community in many different ways: Montgomery County Attorney; Supervising Judge of the Family Courts in the eleven-county Fourth Judicial District; President of the NYS Association of Judges of the Family Court; Member and Past President of the Boy Scouts of America of Montgomery, Fulton, and Hamilton counties; Member of the Board of Directors and Past Secretary and President of the Amsterdam YMCA; Member and Past President of the Amsterdam Board of Education; Member and Past President of the Amsterdam Kiwanis Club; Member of the Amsterdam Elks Club; Member of the VFW Post 51, Amvet Post 32, and Marine Corps League; Member of the Advisory Board of the State Bank of Albany (Amsterdam Branch); Trustee of St. Michael’s Church; and participant and/or leader of various community fund-raising drives (e.g. Heart Fund, Red Cross, Leukemia, and Community Chest).
After retiring as Family Court Judge, Gene enjoyed serving part-time as a Judicial Hearing Officer, hearing cases in different courts throughout the Capital Region where there was a need. In addition, he enjoyed reading, walking, travelling, and spending time with his children and grandchildren.
Gene was a faithful servant of God, his community, and his family. He was a quiet man of integrity, honor, and hard work, learned at the feet of his father and mother who emigrated from Italy and operated a bakery in Amsterdam’s West End.
Gene is survived by his beloved wife Nancy, with whom he shared 64 years of marriage; seven children, Cornelio (Lauri), Hon. Felix (Barbara), Gene (Kristin), John (Jessica), Dr. Thomas (Nasima), Fr. Paul, and Ann O’Connor (James); 19 grandchildren, Gabriella, Gino (Emily), and Cecilia; Michela, Alexandra, and Gene; Carmen Lewis (Daniel), Giulia Tompkins (Shawn), Alessia Unger (Christopher), and Michael; Thomas, Luke, and Anna; Ryan, James, Kevin, Michael, Mary Claire, and Nicholas; two great grandchildren, Jameson Catena and Odhran Lewis; his brother Cornelio, Jr. (Geraldine), brother-in-law Joseph Aulisi (Marsha), brother-in-law Michael Riccio; and many nieces and nephews.
Gene was predeceased by his sister Augusta Russo, brother-in-law Vincent Russo, and sister-in-law Rosalie Riccio.
Visitation will take place on Sunday, March 3rd from 1-4 pm at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 39 Saint John Street, Amsterdam. At the conclusion of visitation, all are invited to join in the praying of the Rosary.
Gene’s funeral Mass will be offered on Monday, March 4th at 11:15 am at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. Procession will then follow to St. Mary’s Cemetery where Gene will be laid to rest.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Mother of Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, where Dr. Tom Catena works as a medical missionary. Checks may be made out to African Mission Healthcare Foundation, P.O. Box 8598, Pueblo, CO 81008 (write “Dr. Tom Catena” on the memo line) or go to www.amhf.us.
Arrangements are by the Riley Mortuary, Inc. 110 Division Street, Amsterdam, NY 12010.
To send expressions of sympathy, visit www.rileymortuaryinc.com