Philip – Catona

(Jul 11, 1929 to May 22, 2010)

Philip CatonarnrnBeing raised as one of 16 kids made him hard as nails, but gentle as a lamb. It also put his life in perspective and allowed him to laugh about life’s ups and downs. rnHe was the life of the party entertaining with a quick line or something as silly as a napkin on his head. He once passed around a box for people to make a donation. As he put the money in his pocket he was asked what the donations were for. “Just for me, thanks.” He taught his grandkids the fun way of making peanut butter and jelly: just stick your hands in the jars.rnHe was always on the move: daily breakfast at the Holiday Inn, bus trips to the casinos, flying out of Cross Keys airport and even competitive ballroom dancing (long before Dancing with the Stars.) Later years found him enjoying more than a few vacations: Hawaii, Italy and the Bahamas.rnIf he had something, his children were welcome to it. When they were young payday meant treats for the kids and in his home he had every pet imaginable from sea horses to chicks to rabbits. He once even bought them a mail order dog. They never had to ask, he just gave.rnHis generosity was more than just for his family: he once gave away most of their furniture when he heard of another family in need. He also gave back to his country: he served in the Army in Okinawa and Korea. He retired from SEPTA after 24 years of service. rnHe went back to the motherland to meet his bride, Fortunata (Tina). She spoke very little English, he spoke very little Italian, but their love saw them through. Their 56 year marriage was blessed by two daughters: Mary Catona and Tina (Bill) McNamee and 3 grandchildren: Katie, Billy, and Philip. He is survived by his siblings: Albert, Johnny, James, Mary Roberts, and Josephine Brown; step-sister, Frances and many nieces and nephews. rnCome celebrate 80 great years, Wednesday 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. at Daley Life Celebration Studio, Swedesboro. Mass of Christian Burial 10:30 at St. Joseph’s Church. In lieu of flowers donations to the American Cancer Society, 1851 Old Cuthbert Rd, Cherry Hill NJ 08034 will be appreciated. Tell a great story about Philip at lifecelebrationstudio.com. rnrn

10 thoughts on “Philip – Catona

  1. Rosemary, niece

    Our hearts are broken with the loss of Uncle Philip..he always made his family laugh at his silly antics and jokes… he was a favorite, never in a bad mood and always full of love. His greeting was never hi or hello….it was always, “Hey…Rosemary; Hey…Timmy; Hey Jennifer” with a big smile and open arms for a hug. We will miss his silly jokes and his presence…he always made us feel good and happy. He always told the story of how he almost fell with Jennifer in his arms when she was a toddler…she is now 40 years old but he never tired of reminding her and also how tight she hugged him always. Timmy was also special to him, and I know I was as well…he made you feel it. I will miss his voice, his warmth, his happy greetings…everything about him. I am glad we had him for 80 years…but it was not enough. I remember with a chuckle the family parties where he would put a napkin on his head and wait for someone to notice. His mission was always to make you laugh and smile a little. We love you Uncle Philip and will miss you forever but you will always be in our hearts… love, Rosemary and Jennifer, Timmy and Sherri and children.

  2. Jim Catona, nephew

    Our sympathies to Aunt Tina and family. Uncle Philip was in our thoughts always these past few months. Uncle James was asking about him quite frequently. Love, Uncle James, Jim & Carolynrnrn

  3. Joan Hersperger

    Phil: I’ll always remember you for being positive and giving out positive advice. You were always upbeat when I saw you, and never complained. I was completely amazed by you during your last few weeks of life, when it was visibly obvious that you were in pain, yet you never complained; and then you went out of your way to make jokes! I thought your attitude would make you live forever. I loved the way your face would light up whenever you saw my daughters. You absolutely loved childeren. God Bless you Phil. I pray you’re in heaven. Love, Joan

  4. Joanne & Jeffrey Fifield

    Bill, Christine and family:rnrnYou are in our thoughts and prayers during this sad and difficult time. Always remember that while we will always miss those we have loved who have moved on to a better place, we are blessed for having had the opportunity to love them while they were here. rnrnDeepest sympathy, Joanne and Jeffrey

  5. Terrea Stubbs

    I met Mr.Catona at he and his wife’s 50th wedding anniversary. He was a wonderfully warm man and had a great sense of humor. My family and I send our prayers, thoughts and condolences to the entire family.

  6. Jan, Bill, Will Hauser

    Our prayers are with all of you with the hopes that the memories you have created over time as a family help to comfort your loss. nUncle Phil was a special person who did life his way and we were fortunate enough to be a small part of that life! May God smile upon him and accept him into heaven with open arms and a lot of love.

  7. Diana Tomasetti

    My parents were Pete & Nora. We lived in grandpop’s house on the 3rd floor apartment on 65th and Vine in West Philly. Uncle Philip and Aunt Natina and Mary Linda & Tina lived on the 2nd floor apartment. One day when I was a baby a bat flew into our house. Everyone was screaming and running around and didn’t realize that the bat found it’s way up to the 3rd floor and into my bedroom. I was in my crib and they knew they had to get me out of there and Uncle Philip ran in and got me out. Everytime after that he would tell me how he saved my life that day and the story always got bigger. I would like to send my condolences and my family’s to Aunt Tina , Mary Linda and Tina and all the rest of the family & his brothers and sisters and regret that I cannot be there for Uncle Philip’s service. He was truly a special man. Our prayers are with all of you. Love, Diana & Tony, Debbie & Dan, John & Susanne

  8. Lynn Butler

    In the short time that we knew him, Phil was always so nice to us and our children. I always knew when we walked out our front door that we could look over and there he would be, sitting in his chair in the garage. Tina would always wave form the front door. When we saw you leave this morning for the funeral and had realized he had passed, my 4 year old daughter said to me “Now their daddy is in heaven with my poppy!” Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Please let us know if we can do anything.rnrnLynn and Andre Butler (your neighbors)rn

  9. ALBERT AND LONA CATONA

    MY SPECIAL BROTHER PHIL, TAUGHT ME TO HOW TO BE TOUGH AND STRONG, AS WELL AS BEING A PERSON THAT IS RESPECTED AND BEING SOMEONE PEOPLE WOULD LOOK TOO, FOR COMPFORD AND ADVICE. PHIL WAS LOVED BY MY WIFE LONA, AND MY CHILDREN ALBERT JR, DONNA, CHERYL, AND MARC.
    IN THE EARLY DAYS WE WOULD MEET AT THE CLAM TAVERN IN CLIFTON HEIGHTS PA. AND THE 8 OF US
    WOULD ENJOY A GREAT DINNER, WITH LOTS OF LAUGHTER. PHIL WOULD KEEP US IN STICTHES. A LOBSTER
    TAIL DINNER THEN WAS $3.99, WOW. WE GREW UP ON 65TH STREET IN WEST PHILA. THERE WAS A LOT
    OF US, THAT IS WHY WE HAD TO DOUBLE UP IN OUR BEDS. WE WERE ON THE 3RD FLOOR REAR BEDROOM
    AUGIE AND I IN ONR BED AND PHIL AND JOHN INTHE OTHER. WE WOULD ROLL MARBLES DOWN THE 3RD
    FLOOR HALL WAY AFTER WE KNEW THAT EVERY ONE WAS ASLEEP AND LISTEN TO THEM BOUNCE DOWN
    THE STEPS HITTING MY FATHERS BEDROOM DOOR AND HEARING HIM YELL UP TO US. THAT WOULD KEEP
    US LAUGHING FOR AN HOUR.I COULD STILL HEAR PHILS LAUGH, IT WAS LOUD. MY WHAT MEMORIES.

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