Cover photo for John Catania's Obituary
John Catania Profile Photo
1948 John 2022

John Catania

December 21, 1948 — October 28, 2022

John Joseph Catania was born on December 21, 1948, and passed on October 28, 2022, at home surrounded his loving family.  He was born in Brooklyn, NY to the late Cologero and Rose Catania. He is survived by his older brother, Santino Catania, and is preceded in death by his loving sister Carmella Marino.

In 1969, he was married to Phyllis Marino of Staten Island who was and remains the love of his life.  They celebrated their 53rd year of marriage in October, 2022.  He is survived by their five children and their spouses, Rosemarie and Charles Polizzotto, Charles and Kimberly Catania, Gina and John Stringile, Peter and Jessica Catania, and Catherine and Charles Catalosi.  John is best known and adored as "Poppy" and is survived by his fourteen grandchildren: Victor, Dominique, and Charles Polizzotto, Jack, Joseph, and Anthony Catania, Thomas, Anarose, and Nina Stringile, John, Gerard, and Peter Catania, and Charley Rose and Cecily Catalosi.

John is also survived by his many loving nieces, nephews, and cousins.

John is a graduate of Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, NY.  After graduating, he attended Wilfred Beauty Academy and began a career as a successful hairdresser in Brooklyn.   He would eventually settle in Staten Island after meeting his wife, Phyllis.   In 1971, he and Phyllis settled in Tottenville and established Towne Deli "Home of the Mess" on Arthur Kill Road.  John cherished his local business, and he took pride in the fact that Towne Deli brought people in the community together.  Towne Deli was a meeting place, a place where even the less fortunate could find a meal, and where he felt a calling to the people of Tottenville. Towne Deli and Pizza remains family owned and is now operated by his son-in-law, Charles.  Towne Deli and Pizza just celebrated their 50th year in business.   John and Phyllis will always be known and credited for being the originators of "The Mess", which remains a Tottenville and Staten Island staple.

After retiring from Towne Deli, John took a position as the captain of security at Bailey Seaton Hospital.  Through this job, John met many wonderful people.  Eventually his connections would lead him to another career move as a respite care worker.   In that position, he took pride in helping individuals navigate daily life tasks.  Many of the clients he met while in these positions would end up at his dinner table as lifelong friends.

John was a devoted Catholic and he took an active role in the church community.  He took a very active role in St. Joseph St. Thomas parish in helping the late pastor and his dear friend, Msgr. Peter G. Finn rebuild St. Thomas the Apostle Church.  John was considered a true Catholic because of his tremendous heart and his random acts of kindness to all that crossed his path.  John's strength was his love for people, and his ability to connect with anyone.   Around Christmas, he could be seen delivering gifts to random neighbors dressed as his favorite alter ego – St. Nicholas.

John lived life as most of us wish we could, with pride and without regrets.   He loved his wife and family with passion and with all his might.  His heart was truly his biggest muscle and worked until his last breath.

In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Grace Foundation in John's memory.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Catania, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

2:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Bedell - Pizzo (Tottenville)


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Funeral Mass

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)


6135 Amboy Rd, Staten Island, NY 10309

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Interment following funeral service

Thursday, November 3, 2022

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