OAKVILLE — Francis “Chuck” Rinaldi Jr. 82, returned to his heavenly home on March 28, 2017 after a valiant battle with a lengthy illness. He was at his second home in Florida where he would gladly offer to family and friends to visit him. His devotion to his family and his firm belief in God supported him in his struggle and ultimately gave him peace.
Chuck was born to the late Catherine and Francis A. Rinaldi Sr. Nov. 29, 1934. Chuck was blessed with a large and loving family. He married his best friend and the love of his life, Leada Georgina Melnikoff, on Sept. 1, 1956 at St. Mary Magdalen Church. Chuck and Lea just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary gathered with their family and friends.
Chuck is survived by his wife, Leada; his son, Francis Anthony Rinaldi III of Naugatuck; his daughter, Chryll Rinaldi Beliveau and her husband, Charles P. Beliveau, of Oakville, and his daughter, Mary and her husband, David Fischer, of Delmar, N.Y. He has a brother, John Rinaldi (Linda) of Bethlehem. His grandchildren that were the center and joy of his life, Charles F. Beliveau and his fiancé, Ariann Scribner, Thomas Beliveau, Angelica Fischer, Sarah Fischer, and Erich Fischer. His adopted brother from an early age, Benjamin Szmajlo. He is preceded in death by his brother, Robert Rinaldi; his adopted brother, Henry Szmajlo, and his parents. He had nieces and nephews that he loved dearly, Melissa McInvale, Keith Szmajlo, Jason Szmajlo, Tina Szmajlo, and Elena Stetka.
Chuck was very athletic and played baseball at Oliver Wolcott Technical School and played on a semi-pro football team called the Waterbury Steelers. After graduating high school, he proudly served in the U.S. Navy as a Seabee in Newfoundland where he learned his craft. He had a lengthy career as a talented and imaginative carpenter building his own home as well as helping his children with theirs. His career began as a foreman for Carl G Peterson Construction Co. and eventually earned his way to superintendent. One of his many projects was the construction of St Hedwig Roman Catholic Church in Naugatuck. He then became president of Carpenters Local Union 260 in Waterbury and later business representative, and eventually moved on to business representative for Carpenters Local Union 24. As a business representative, he was selected to represent union causes with President Jimmy Carter and met him on Air Force One. He also earned a teaching certificate for carpentry and taught at Kaynor Tech High School.
Chuck was a past member of the Knights of Columbus and was honored with a Man of the Year award from the Sons of Italy. He served as a member of the Watertown Town Council, the Watertown Planning and Zoning Board, the Watertown Public Building Committee, the Watertown Democratic Town Committee, and a state representative for the Democratic Committee. One accomplishment he was proud of was that he helped to design and build the Gazebo near the Watertown/Oakville TOWN HALL.
Chuck enjoyed a long retirement with his wife traveling between Connecticut and Florida. In his spare time, he enjoyed playing golf, building furniture, and watching his grandkids. He especially enjoyed watching his grandchildren playing sports.
There will be no calling hours. Chuck will be buried at the Mount Oliver Cemetery after a mass at St. Mary Magdalen Church, Oakville, at 11 a.m. on April 8 with a reception to follow at the Grand Oak Villa. The family gratefully declines flowers and donations, but prayers, condolences and memories are gladly accepted.
To leave an online message of condolence, visit www.hickcoxfuneralhome.com.