William C. Celentano Jr., 81, a lifelong resident of the City of New Haven passed away peacefully, after a brief illness on February 11, 2020 with his entire family by his side.
Bill (or Billy) was the dedicated husband of Gigi Mauro Celentano. Born in New Haven April 25, 1938 he was the son of the late Mayor William C Celentano and Marian Piontek Celentano.
He was a practicing embalmer and funeral director since July 1, 1963 after attending Villanova University and the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science but was a member of the Celentano Funeral Home, where he worked closely with his father starting in 1957. His dedication to the City of New Haven was exemplary. He was appointed to the Board of Finance by Mayor DiLieto in 1983 and eventually resigned to accept a position on the Board of Fire Commissioners. The New Haven Fire Department was his true passion since spending time at Engine 3 on Park and Elm St as a young man. As Secretary and then President of Box 22 Associates he coordinated the implementation of the Box 22 Firefighters Emergency Canteen which he personally drove to multiple alarm fires at all hours of the day and night to serve refreshments to the tired men and women of the New Haven Fire Dept which he referred to as his extended family. Eventually he received the Civilian Award from Local 825, the highest honor a person could receive from outside Fire Service. The Commissioner also served on the New Haven Fire and Police Pension Board, Hospital of St. Raphael Foundation, Greater New Haven Jaycees, the International Fire Buffs Assoc., and co-authored the book of New Haven Firefighters, published by Arcadia in their “Images of America” series. He was also a member of the Greater New Haven, Connecticut, and National Funeral Directors Associations. In 1962 he became a member of the Amity Club with his father and uncles, serving as its President in 1967, and was the Executive Director of the Amity Charitable Trust from 1972 to 1982.Besides his wife Gigi he is survived by his sons Mark (Jerilyn), Robert (Maria), William III (Carolina) and daughter Donna (Anthony) DeFrancesco, his step children Vincent E. (Nicole) Mauro Jr. and Melissa (Michael) Desmond, and his grandchildren Krista and Nicholas Celentano and Bronson and Mason Desmond. Friends and family are invited to pay their respects at our funeral home which he ran tirelessly, the Celentano Funeral Home, 424 Elm St., New Haven on Sunday from 3-7 PM and are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial in Saint Bernadette Church Monday at 10:00 AM. Interment will follow in St. Lawrence Cemetery. Memorial Contributions may be made in his name to the Amity Charitable Trust, PO Box 8626, New Haven, CT 06531 or the Office of Radio and Television. where he would watch Mass at ORTV, Inc. 15 Peach Orchard Road, Prospect, Connecticut 06712-1052.
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