Richard Catarelli

Family Tribute:Richard Catarelli – written by Santa Catarelli

Richard lived his life simply- he deeply loved his family-he idolized our daughter Anamarie, he cared about the welfare and happiness of everyone he knew, prayed for those less fortunate than he, and he worried about how to make the world a better place for the youth of our society.

Many who knew Rich knew that he was always happy-go-lucky, always had a smile – always had a funny story, and always had a kind word for anyone he met.

My husband accomplished things quietly behind the scenes, and with no fanfare – that was the way he preferred it. He had an uplifting attitude and a very vibrant spirit. His enthusiasm and energy were boundless. He will forever be always on our minds, and in our hearts, and a part of our lives.

Tribute to a Special Person

Not only St. Finbar’s Parish but also all Pallottines suffered a personal and great loss on September 11th. Our Pallottine brother, Richard Catarelli, worked on the 100th floor of the World Trade Center Tower 1. The Sisters at St. Finbar’s were the last to see him. Every morning at 6:30 A.M., three knocks announced his arrival. Richard said morning prayers with us before going to work. Little did we know we would say our last goodbye to his unforgettable smiling face that morning.

Richard had a great love of St. Vincent Pallotti whose charism, ideals and life he knew and emulated. Like St. Vincent, he stretched the twenty-four hours of each day. He untiringly worked for his parish - a trustee of the church, a Eucharistic minister, and an honorary member of the Marian Rosary Society. Most especially he had a great concern for youth. His dream of starting a teenage parish group was about to become a reality. He zealously strove to make Jesus alive for his Confirmation class. His last gift to the CCD program was seven banners which he and his wife Santa made on the seven Sacraments. All this was done while never neglecting his primary responsibility as husband and father – holding a full time job which at times had him traveling – teaching a college class once a week – taking evening classes in theology – and going for certification in youth ministry. Like his role model St. Vincent, Richard gave of himself without counting the cost.

Richard touched everyone he encountered. Richard was a caring family man who often spoke of his wife and daughter. He gave of himself wholeheartedly and with a smile. Richard touched all of our lives. We shall miss his physical presence among us, but his presence in the hearts of all who knew him will continue to affect the world in ways beyond all telling.

Written by Sr. Ann Joachim.

Reprinted with permission from Shared Visions.

Terrorists Took Life of New Diocesan Youth Minister


Ten parishes in Brooklyn and Queens soon will be strengthened by 15 dedicated laypeople of various ages and backgrounds who have been certified by the Diocese as official youth ministers. The original number of candidates scheduled for graduation on Sunday, Sept. 30 was 16. But Richard Catarelli, an employee of the firm Marsh and McLennan, was working on the 100th Floor of the World Trade Center when the terrorist attack occurred Sept. 11. His diploma was awarded posthumously to his wife, Santa.

Catarelli is also survived by his only child, Anamarie, who also was one of the 15 graduating youth ministers.

Over the years, the Catarelli Family has been intimately linked to parish life at St. Finbar’s, Bath Beach. Richard was one of only two parish trustees. Father Joseph Holcomb, pastor of St. Finbar’s, said, “Rich Catarelli was a terrific parishioner. He had a positive and enthusiastic spirit. He had a great concern for the youth of the parish which is why he went to Father Michael Carrano’s classes to be certified. I truly valued his wise counsel. He will be deeply missed.”

The principal of St. Finbar’s school, Sister Hyacinth Serravillo, CSAC, spoke lovingly of her deceased friend who had the playful habit of calling her, “Buddy”. “Rich Catarelli was a man who didn’t know how to say ‘No’,” she pointed out. “He helped everyone. Each morning he would join myself and the sisters for morning prayers at 6:50 a.m. before heading off to work. On Sept. 11, he asked me for the address of my niece who was about to undergo surgery. He wanted to write to her. He put the address in his coat pocket and he went on his way as usual. He was such a wonderful man. It is hard to believe that he is gone.”

Mrs. Catarelli accepted her husband’s certificate at the graduation ceremony. She plans to frame it alongside her daughter’s certificate. “My husband was a man who loved everybody,” she said. “His favorite line was ‘Keep Smiling’.”

Next month would have been the 25th wedding anniversary for Santa and Richard. A memorial Mass was celebrated at the packed church with nearly 900 people.

Catarelli had a special relationship with his daughter. “I was looking forward to reaching out to the youth of my parish with my Dad,” she said. “I know what he was hoping to do and it is my goal to follow through on those ideas.”

Anamarie, a graduate of Fontbonne Hall Academy, Bay Ridge, is a junior at St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, working towards a degree in social work.

Father Carrano, diocesan director of youth ministry, added words of praise as well. “Rich Catarelli was a dedicated man who had a tremendous concern for our teenagers. He was a prayerful man who was insightful and conscientious.”

© 2001, The Tablet. Reprinted with permission.

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I did not know Richard. Reading his bio and tributes, he was obviously a well-loved man of peace. Condolences to all who knew him.
Leslie Honcharik, Friend
Sep 19 2022 9:32PM
Richard, I can't get you out of my mind today,nor would I want to. I miss you so very much, things are not the same here at St. Finbar without you. You were a vibrant, intelligent, warm, giving human being, who never ceased to amaze me. I know you are with God, pray for all of us on earth who love you and miss you.
Millie Marolla, Friend
Sep 11 2014 11:52AM
Time continues to pass and you are never forgotten my friend.....
Linda Sullivan, Friend
Sep 10 2014 6:18PM
Thinking of you and your family as we reach the 10th anniversary. When I think of you I always smile. Linda
Linda Sullivan, Friend
Sep 6 2011 6:04PM
Thinking of you and your family as another year has passed. When Ithink of you I always smile. Linda
Linda Sullivan, Friend
Sep 10 2010 9:19AM
It is amazing how quick 9 years have passed and the pain and heartache I have from your loss is still as strong as 9/11/01. As I think about the anniversary this year, I want to pay tribute to the wonderful person that you were; husband, father, brother, uncle, best friend, colleague, teacher, student, hero. They say that things are supposed to get easier but I'm still waiting. I know that you are watching down on all of us that love and miss you. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of you and wish you were here to give me words of wisdom on life, and yes I even miss the pain in the butt part of you!! Dad you were my dad and my best friend. I miss you terribly but I know that you want me to be happy and think good thoughts. So today and this weekend I will think of all the good times we had! Sending my love to you on clouds of x's and o's. Anamarie
Anamarie Catarelli, Family
Sep 9 2010 5:54PM
I think of you often. You were a great guy! I know your family must miss you deeply. Linda Sullivan
Linda Sullivan, Colleague
Sep 11 2009 5:35PM
Rich I don't know if you remember me. I worked for you in the claims department of Segwick James of New York when I was only sixteen. You encouraged me and helped me to grow into the successful woman I am today. I remember how muh you loved your daughter. You had a beautiful ballerina photograph of here in your office that I always admired. You had a great laugh and a wonderful personality. You are not forgotten and I pray that God comforts your family. Lisa Abbas
Lisa Abbas, Colleague
Sep 11 2007 10:12AM
Richard, I miss you. I know you are watching over all of us so I'm writing this to you. The other night I walked past the place where we found our benefactor, Tony and I couldn't stop thinking of you. Last month, we had our Rosarian meeting in the Chapel at the Convent and I felt your presence. I told all the ladies to pray to you and for you. I told them you were in the Chapel before going to work on 911. I went to an event at another parish recently, and they were in need of ceiling tiles. I thought about you and our 'floor bonds'. I miss the mischief, the fun, the great ideas, the enthusiasm, the caring and the happiness that surrounded us when you walked into the room. You made it all work. God bless Santa and Anamarie.
Millie, Friend
Nov 9 2006 5:33PM
Rich, Five years have passed. It will never get easier to deal with 9/11, but having known you, and having worked with you has made my life better. You were a fantastic consultant, and working with you inspired me to think differently - more creatively - on the job - and interacting with you as a friend inspired me to look at life from the bright side, and from the humorous side. I have missed our meetings, and those opportunties to grab lunch and talk about life, and our families, hopes, dreams, God - and of course -- work. Santa and Ana Maria - I never got to meet you, but I know how passionately Richard loved you. I have hoped to have the same passion and love in my own life - and I was recently married, and some of the things I learned from Richard are helping to make the marriage special. Thanks for being who you are Rich Catarelli!
A former client, Colleague
Sep 12 2006 12:19PM
On this anniversary of the tragedy of five years ago, my heart and prayers go out to Rich and his beloved family. He has been forever in my mind and will always be remember not just as the dedicated family man who he was, but for his dedication to his faith which he kept close to his heart. Rich and I go back to '84 when I was at Prudential and he was at Fred S. James. When I joined Sedgwick in '94, Rich and I would spend time with clients, but more importantly spend time together talking about life, our family and our faith. I remember the day vividly when Rich decided to leave Sedgwick for J&H; and we talked for an hour about the old times and that we would make sure to stay in touch. When Sedgwick became part of Marsh, I was thrilled to be reconnected with Rich and we chatted about the old days - even though they were just a few years ago. He was my go to man on all techinical issues - a true guru. Rich will always be remembered. He was a true friend, a true believer and one that was always there for you. He will not only be remembered by me, but my sons who have heard the stories of Rich as well as the boy scouts that I lead as a scoutmaster and I tell them of a great man in his dedication to family, friends and his faith. My prayers go out to you Santa and Annamarie. God Bless. Jim Niwinski
Jim Niwinski, Colleague
Sep 11 2006 7:23PM
I never thought I would be able to make a year without my dad, let alone the rest of my life. By seeing all the people that he has touched and came in contact with, it gives me strength and realization that he isn't gone. He is still here with each and every one person that knew and loved him. His legacy will never die, his spirit will never blow away and his love for his family, friends and collegues will be a never ending flame in our hearts forever!
Anamarie Catarelli, Family
Sep 14 2002 8:47PM
I did not have any association to Mr. Catarelli. I know George Werner as a fellow union brother. I can make this observation even though I never met Richard. With so many written tributes coming from family, friends and associates it only proves that he is not gone, but lives in each and everyone of you that loved, worked or respected him. One thing is for sure, from one Richard to Richard Catarelli, you meant a lot to many people and now you mean something to me too.
Richard Williams, Friend
Sep 14 2002 10:40AM
Rich and I worked in the same department and he was one of the most pleasant person. Always happy and singing. We in the claims department truly miss him.
Doris L. Williams, Colleague
Sep 12 2002 11:30AM
My association with Mr.Catarelli came during my tenure with the commercial lines department at Stonewall Insurance. He was always a pleasure. The family of this very special man will be in my prayers. May God bless them and grant them peace. Andrea Lentine
Andrea Lentine, Colleague
Aug 22 2002 7:02PM
I worked for Rich at Sedgwick when I was 16 years old while I was in high school participating in the Co-op program. Rich was so intelligent, patient, kind and of course funny. I remember he kept a big picture of his beautiful daughter in a little ballerina outfit. He adored her so much. I really admired his dedication to work and his family values. I'm sorry I didn't get to see Rich after I graduated. My heart and prayers go out to his family. Love, Lisa Abbas
Lisa Abbas, Colleague
Aug 1 2002 11:41AM
Rich and I go a long way back. We both worked for Sedgwick - he in New York, me in Seattle. I first met Rich in San Francisco in 95. He had me laughing from the minute we met. What a splendid man! We worked closely until he departed for J&H.; Little did I know we would meet again as 'marshians'. I miss him very much. His family are in my prayers and there is no doubt in my mind that he watches from above and still trys to get us to laugh.
Kris Whitters, Colleague
Jul 8 2002 11:26AM
I was lucky enough to meet Rich and Santa through my friend, Gayle Greene. We first met in San Antonio, TX at a CPCU Social function. Gayle, Rich, Santa and myself ate our way throughout the fair that was set up as a fiesta. We had a lot of laughs, most at each other's expense! I was lucky enough to spend quite a few fun times with Rich and Santa, and I always was amazed at their relationship. You could see the love and devotion and respect they had for each other in everything that they did. Gayle and I always commented that if we could find a guy like Rich, we would marry him in a heartbeat. When Marsh bought out Sedgwick, there were no longer any social functions at the CPCU conventions, so I hadn't seen Rich for a while. Gayle kept me updated with him, Santa, and their daughter, often telling me of his latest undertaking. That is why, although I miss Gayle every minute of every day, I do find solace that she and Rich are together with God, keeping each other company and smiling down on us. Eileen Carey
Eileen Carey, Friend
Jun 16 2002 5:38PM
I was very fortunate to know Rich. He was such a great guy who always knew how to make you laugh. He always found a way to be positive and uplift your spirits. He loved his family so very much and I will miss him. I will always keep my wonderful memories of Rich. Linda Sullivan
Linda Sullivan, Friend
Jun 12 2002 11:16PM
Santa's words really say it all. I have known Rich Catarelli for more than 20 years. When we met, we were a couple of young guys from Brooklyn, trying to make it in the real world. If you shared his work ethic, Rich was always your friend. If you were devoted to solving a client's problem, he always listened to your ideas. If you wanted to learn something about the business of risk, he was there to teach. And just when you started to take things too seriously, he would open up his brown eyes, give you a wry smile, and say something funny (often sarcastic) to bring you back to reality. Rich, not a day goes by that I don't think of you and I miss you dearly. I have thought about this a lot since 9/11 but I still cannot fathom what heaven is like. But I do know for sure that it is a far better place now that you are there. Jim
Jim Wright, Colleague
Jun 5 2002 11:13PM
Rich was one of the nicest and most helpful person that I worked with both at Marsh & J&H.; My sincere condolences to the Catatrelli family.
E. Frey, Friend
May 26 2002 2:58PM