Obituaries
November 21, 2017
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Frank Castelli

  • Frank Castelli

October 27, 2017

Frank Castelli

November 16, 1924-October 10, 2017

On October 10, 2017, Frank Castelli passed away at the age of 92 after a long and wonderful life. On the night of the Tubbs fire, Frank was evacuated from his Paulin Creek Care Facility on Range Avenue in Santa

Rosa to Fairfield. As his beloved Sonoma County home was ravaged by fire, he died peacefully in his sleep in the loving care of the Brookdale Clare Bridge staff.  He and his wife’s Larkfield home of 48 years was spared, the fire

reaching their backyard. He was born in San Francisco, November 16, 1924 to the late Guilio and Antonia Castelli.

When Frank was 8 years old the family moved to Cotati where they raised chickens and farmed. His father was a talented carpenter and wood carver.

For decades, their home, located at the intersection of Derby Lane and Gravenstein Highway was a gathering spot for friends and family. Frank’s early years were spent helping his mother in the garden and it became a lifelong passion.

He attended Cotati Elementary School and graduated from Petaluma High School in 1943.

While finishing school, he was drafted into the Army and left immediately after graduation. Frank served in the Army Air Corps during WWII from 1943-1945. He was part of the 44th Bomb Group, 506 Squadron, based in England. Frank flew 27 missions as a B-24 “Liberator” nose gunner and togglier.

Upon returning home he attended Santa Rosa Junior College. After graduating he became a journeyman carpenter and was always proud of having helped build the bell tower of St. Eugene’s Cathedral and the Church of the Roses both in Montgomery Village. Decades later he could recall which beams he had put in and many of the other parts of buildings he had worked on.

During this time he was introduced to Lorraine Ferrero, also from Cotati, and they were married at St. Joseph’s Church in Cotati August 20, 1950.

They stayed in Cotati, raised their three children and together operated Castelli Egg Farm on Old Redwood Highway from 1954 until 1969. He joined the California Highway Patrol, (badge number 1574) in 1954 and spent most of his 26 year career in Sonoma County. In 1969, Frank and Lorraine moved to Santa Rosa, where he enjoyed years of friendship with other officers and their families. He retired as an administrative sergeant in 1980 and was a member of the California Association of the Highway Patrolmen.

As a younger man he went on hunting and fishing trips and abalone dives. He played adult baseball, had a lifelong interest in the stock market and learning; he was a voracious reader of history and newspapers. Frank could speak Spanish and Italian.

In retirement, he spent many happy years traveling with Lorraine, family and friends. They took several trips to Europe. They went to China, Egypt, Turkey, Panama and South America. They took extended trips to Mexico

and most of the United States in a travel trailer. However, for Frank, the highlights of his travels were taking his children and grandchildren on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2000.

When he was at home he enjoyed growing all types of flowers but especially fuchsias and camellias, including some that he had transplanted from his parent’s home. He had a vegetable garden and grew most everything, but was very proud of his tomatoes, basil, olives, (which he

cured himself) and he made his own vinegar. He was a great cook and shared everything he grew or cooked with others. He didn't slow down until after he turned 90 years old and even continued to walk four miles a day until two years ago.

Most of all, he devoted his life to Lorraine, his children and grandchildren.

Frank was a member of St. Eugene’s Cathedral, the Italian Catholic Federation, Petaluma Sons in Retirement (SIRS), Young Men’s Institute #40, Santa Rosa Druids #21, Marin-Sonoma Italian Club, and a lifetime member of the American Legion #21 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 768.

Frank was preceded in death by his beloved sister, Helen Tennyson, his mother and father-in-law, Frank and Marie Ferrero, and his adored eldest daughter, Marianne Zabala, of leukemia in 1981.

He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Lorraine Castelli, his daughter Karen Hanahan of Santa Rosa and her husband Ralph, his son Frank Castelli, Jr. of Santa Rosa and his wife Laura, grandchildren, Valentino “Joe” Gambero III and his wife Valentina, Ryan Castelli, Brandon Castelli, Erik Zabala, Jennifer Pathak (Travis) and great-granddaughter, Alexandra, sister and brother-in-law, Doreen and Jim Brog, devoted neighbors Rick and Robin Pozzi, his step-grandchildren, John, Rafe and Lizzy Hanahan and their families and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Frank had a twinkle in his eye that showed his intelligence and a smile for everyone. He was a man that you could count on. His last thoughts most likely were of his family’s safety and the question, “What the hell am I

doing In Fairfield?” He was loved and will be greatly missed. If desired, donations in his memory may be made to Cardinal Newman High School, 50 Ursuline Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.

 

A funeral service will be held 

Friday, October 27, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at

Daniels Chapel of the Roses, 1225 Sonoma Avenue, Santa Rosa, Ca.

Entombment at Calvary Catholic Cemetery,

Santa Rosa, Ca.