Orlando Joseph Catapano, Jr. passed away on December 18, 2018 at the Philip Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence, RI.
Orlando was born on March 1, 1944 in Rockville Centre, NY. He and his twin sister, Mercedes, were the first children of the late Bitsy and Betty Catapano. The family grew with the births of his sisters Kathleen, Carolina and Pat and his brother, Michael. He lived in Westbury, NY and had lots of cousins nearby with whom he was close.
Orlando had lots of nicknames – Orie, Catman, the big O, Junior. He was very athletic and played football and ran track while at Westbury HS. He moved to Santa Barbara, CA to attend college and stayed in California for several years.
When he returned to Westbury, Orlando got a job working in the construction industry. He owned a bar called the Barbershop in Westbury for a number of years in the 1970s. He resumed construction work after the bar closed and held various positions until his retirement due to poor health at age 70. He was a proud member of Local 66 and served as a shop steward.
Until November of 2017, Orlando lived with Hope Williams in Suffolk County. He was stepfather to Brittney Williams, father to Julianna Catapano and grandfather to Augostino and Georgianna. Orlando had the extreme misfortune to be twice hit by a car while he was walking – the first time in 2013 and then again in 2017. He had severe head trauma with both accidents. The cognitive deficits that resulted from these head traumas made Orlando unable to live independently. In November 2017 he moved into a memory care facility near his sister in Providence, RI.
He fell and hit his head on December 6, 2018 and never fully regained consciousness. The doctors said that he would not recover from the accident and, as per the wishes in Orlando’s Living Will, he was treated with comfort measures only. Orlando entered the Philip Huliter Hospice Center on December 9th, where he died peacefully on December 18th. The family is deeply grateful for the excellent care and support provided to Orlando and them by the Center’s staff.
Orlando loved music of all kinds, but especially the blues, the Grateful Dead and classic rock. He played the harmonica and, when he was younger, some guitar. Until his head traumas he loved playing chess, watching Nascar and sports. Orlando had an engaging spirit and liked to make people smile. He loved to laugh and kid around. Family was very important to him and his happiest days were spent playing with his grandchildren. He will be sorely missed.
At his request he is being cremated. The family plans to have a celebration of his life sometime in spring 2019 on Long Island.
If people would like to make a memorial tribute to Orlando, the family is requesting that they make donations to the Alzheimer’s Association www.alz.org.