By Patricia Abbate
In Honor of Veterans Day, please enjoy this story about WWII veteran George Cataldo, reprinted from the May 2017 edition of the South Shore Senior News
Pembroke – Soon to swing into his 10th decade, 89-year-old George Cataldo–avid golfer (a 12-handicap!), velvet-voiced crooner, accomplished artist, WWII veteran, former Brockton City Counselor, and retired Sears Robuck Co. Executive — is decidedly a Renaissance man.
During a recent appearance at a Memory Cafe held at the Pembroke Council on Aging and sponsored by Old Colony Elder Services, Cataldo delighted participants with his debonair flair and polished demeanor. Dapper in his tuxedo, Cataldo’s expressive voice, accompanied by his professional sound system, did not disappoint. His easy style, graceful movements and humorous banter with the audience evoked a vintage Vegas supper club vibe as he crooned selections from Frank Sinatra and beloved standards from the American Song Book.
During his performance he even sketched a caricature of himself as a dark haired younger man, showing off his artistic talents, while never missing a musical beat, singing right through intermission.
For his last number, Catalodo produced a simple yet familiar percussion instrument from his pocket–spoons. Seated on stage, he offered up a spirited performance to the tune Happy Days are Here Again. Striking the spoons rhythmically against his arms, legs, hands, and cheeks, he smiled, laughed, and thoroughly entertained as his arms and hands whirled about.
“I sang for the first time 35 years ago when I retired from Sears,” he recalls. During a send-off dinner at a Japanese restaurant in New York his colleagues urged him to sing Karaoke. “They convinced me to give it a try and so I did. They said I sounded like Dean Martin. I’ve been singing ever since.”
After mingling with the Pembroke audience, but before breaking down and lugging the sound equipment back to his car, Catalodo shared notes on his personal calendar. Pointing out gigs penciled into his planner, booked well into the summer months all over the South Shore, he was energized.
Along with singing gigs, he also has a golf tournament coming up, and his 90th birthday on August 12. Cataldo now lives alone at his home in Westport, after losing his wife of 49 years in 1997, but he’s not lonely. He paints, he sings, he golfs, he volunteers, and still drives his own car. He reminisced briefly about his WWII service in the Navy on an aircraft carrier, the time Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy broke Cataldo’s ring finger during an All Star basketball
game, and his 18-year stint as a Brockton City Counselor. As he says, “there are so many memories from all these decades, it’s hard to select only a few.”
For now, the Silver Foxx is looking forward to singing and swinging to Sinatra, as well as swinging his golf clubs. If you are fortunate enough to meet the amazingly energetic and multi-talented George Cataldo at an upcoming event, be sure to wish him a very Happy 90th Birthday!