Shrewsbury – Albert “Big Al” Castagna, 95, a longtime resident of Shrewsbury, passed away Aug. 17, 2018 at home with his devoted wife Tina and loved ones gathered by his side.
Al was born April 3, 1923 in Worcester, one of 14 children of Italian immigrants Rudolph A. Castagna Sr. and Immaculata (Piscitelli) Castagna. Raised in Worcester, Al graduated from Commerce High School ,class of 1940.
Soon after the Pearl Harbor attack, Al enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a signal man. He served his country aboard several Navy cruisers, including the USS Boston, Baltimore and Quincy. Upon discharge in 1945, Al began his career, accepting a position with Norton Company, where he worked for 19 years. Part-time at first, then becoming a full-time employee, Al became a member of Borgatti family at Spag’s Supply in Shrewsbury, rising through the ranks over the next 30 years and retiring as School House manager in 1985. Al also had a small business sharpening chainsaws, Alan Sales and Chain.
In 1963, He married Tina Sagnelli, and began a 55-year love affair of devotion, dedication and family. Tina never left his side, and his children doted on him over the years.
He is survived by his wife Tina; two children, Joyette M. Bartley and her husband Patrick of Holyoke and Alan D. Castagna of Worcester; a grandson he cherished, Joseph Bartley; two brothers, Louis Castagna of Holden and Anthony “Robert” Castagna of Sterling; three sisters, Rita Castagna of Holden, Rose Lucier of Milford, and Frances Perrone of Worcester; and many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. Al was predeceased by his first wife, Lucy Consiglio; brothers Luigi, Beato, and Rudolph “Rudy” Castagna Jr.; and sisters, Julia Pierce, Gloria McCauley, Gensie Bouffard, Jean Field, and Joan Castagna.
Al was a devoted and longtime member of the Italian American Victory Club in Shrewsbury, an active member of the Eastside Post 201, American Legion in Worcester, the Worcester Lodge 168, Sons of Italy in America, Adelphi Counsel Knights of Columbus and Greendale retired men’s club. Al loved bocce, and played right up to his passing, a longtime member of both the IAVC and Sons of Italy bocce leagues.
He had a unique talent designing and building bird houses; designing, constructing and repairing stained glass; and planting and tending to his tomato garden, which was his pride and joy.
Al and Tina loved to travel. They traveled the world over the years, notably many times to Italy, South America and his favorite, Aruba.
Al was a friend to all who knew him, he loved to be with Tina, his children and his grandson, and always had a smile for everyone with whom he spoke.
Friends and relatives are invited to calling hours Monday, Aug. 20, from 4-7 p.m., in the Mercadante Funeral Home & Chapel, 370 Plantation St., Worcester. His funeral will be held Tuesday, Aug. 21 from the funeral home with a procession to St. Anne’s Church, 130 Boston Tpke., Shrewsbury, where his celebration of life Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Burial with military honors will follow in Mountain View Cemetery. Members of the Eastside Post 201 will gather at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the funeral home to conduct their ritual.
The Castagna family would like to thank the staff of Beacon Hospice, especially Gina, Helen, Stacey, and Reverend Frank, for their care, comfort and compassion during a difficult time.