Frank J. Catena ’58

Frank Joseph Catena, 91 of Union NJ, died on June 29th, 2022. Frank was born on Sept 11, 1930 in Newark. NJ to Frank P. Catena and Veronica Mulligan. Frank attended Union High School where he was the co-captain of the football team his Senior year, and was selected to the All Union County First Team. In his Junior year he was also a member of the baseball team which won the Group 4 State Championship. Frank graduated from Union High School in 1949. Frank attended Maine Maritime Academy, where he was a member of the football team, serving as the co-captain and assistant coach, and was a member of the baseball team.

Frank enlisted in the U S Navy in 1951, serving during the Korean War on the USS Wasp CVA-18, which made two world cruises, and operated off the coast of South Korea in 1954-1955. Frank received a promotion to Gunners Mate 3rd class in January 1955. Frank received an honorable discharge in April of 1955. During those years of service, one tragedy in particular took place. The USS Wasp struck one of its escort ships during a failed sea maneuver. The USS Hobson was seriously damaged and sunk. The USS Wasp, in critical condition, limped to a port to undergo repairs and put back out to sea. Frank also served as an Ensign in the US Navy Reserve, receiving an Honorable Discharge in December, 1967.

Frank returned to Maine Maritime Academy in 1955 and graduated in 1958, receiving the Academy award for the cadet with the most perseverance to succeed. Frank earned a degree in Marine Engineering, a 3rd assistant Marine engineering license and a commission as an officer in the US Navy.

Frank went to work for the Military Sea Transportation Service in 1958 as a 3rd engineer watch officer. Also known as the Merchant Marines, they transported Military service members to and from Asia during the Vietnam war. Frank left that job in 1961 after two more world cruises, to get married and settle down.

Frank was employed in the shipping transportation and construction field Equipment Maintenance and Repair, and the Containerization field for 25 years.

His first and longest employment in this field was for Sea-Land service, where he managed the largest maintenance facility in the world. He held positions, including Director and Vice President of Corporate Maintenance, with several container companies, including PRIMMI from where he retired in 1988. Later in his career, Frank was self employed as a consultant for Equipment and Container manufacturers throughout Asia, Europe, South America and the USA before retiring in 1993.

Frank was a member of the Young Republicans Club, as well as the Republican Club of Union County. Frank served as a Trustee on the Board of Directors for the Epilepsy Foundation for the State of NJ.

Frank is survived by his wife of 61 years, Dorothea P (Murray) Catena, his son, Frank J Catena Jr, his daughter, Karen M Catena, and two grandchildren, Joseph and Madison Annicchiarico.