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Ed Cassinelli died in his sleep at home on October 15th 2023. Reading an announcement of death only tells a very small part of the story of a person, and in this case tells so little of our father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. Instead this is an announcement of life, and to begin his life story, we'll start with a quote from Carl Sagan, a man Ed greatly admired: “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff”.
Edgar Roger Cassinelli, born of “star-stuff”, truly loved living and learning and was loved by many from the day of his birth on February 27, 1937. He was always fascinated by science. Ed would spend hours learning how things worked from electricity, photography, engines, canons, and more, but especially airplanes, and then later, computers. He was continuously curious and loved to explore and make things. Fortunately, his parents, Louis Peter Casinelli (originally Emi Luigi Casinelli), Jane Cassinelli (originally Giovanna Russo) and his sister Carrol Cassinelli (later Carrol Shaw), not only shared these qualities, but also encouraged his curiosity and making things. He often told the story of working alongside his father to build a speedboat and their cabin on a lake in Rhode Island. Learning and making was a constant in their home and became a mainstay throughout Ed’s life. His parents, who were deaf, enjoyed communicating with him and their grandchildren through the TTY (TeleTypewriter) he built in his basement. Later, they celebrated his successes as he researched and developed patents as a computer components engineer. The one area of learning that eluded him was music; fortunately, his sister and her children excelled in this area and made up for this shortcoming in the family. Despite lacking musical talent, it did not stop Rd from listening to music or belting out Jeremiah was a Bullfrog, singing A You're Adorable: The Alphabet song to his wife, The Air Force song, and others.
After graduating from high school and working with his father in a ring factory, Ed joined the Air Force to work on jet radar and met the love of his life. Janet Slater also wore a uniform, a nurse’s uniform, of which he said was the initial attraction, and they were soon married. They had three children, and bought a house where they instilled the same love of learning and curiosity. Ed was never without a new hobby, or something to read and learn from with books and magazines scattered throughout the house. He created a darkroom in the laundry room, bought a used sailboat that he had to fix up and learn to sail, continuously added on to his basement woodworking workshop, and read books on military history and science, and more. Throughout his life, he extolled the wisdom of science fiction books, of which he read many, in their predictions of the future machinery and exploration that often came true. When in his 40’s, Ed bought a motorcycle. He and Janet explored and learned together, which they did all through their lives thereafter, first with their motorcycle and later in their motorhomes. On the motorcycle, they visited every southern province in Canada, all the states but Hawaii, and Europe. In their various motorhomes, they continued traveling to visit grandchildren, family and friends, but mostly, to be together enjoying the wonder and beauty of what the cosmos, all that “star-stuff", had created on this planet and in this country they loved.
Ed was also a generous person that helped out family when in need and was constantly making gifts for his friends and family. When his children were growing up, he took lots of photos of their events and friends, processed them in his darkroom, and gave them as gifts that are still treasured. When in cardiac rehab, he made gifts in his woodshop for the medical staff. Mostly, however, Ed will be remembered for the 20 years he made Christmas ornaments from the various specialty woods he collected. His list grew every year as the family grew and new friends were made. A doctor at the hospital just 3 days before his death, showed a keen interest in his skill, so he added her to his list for this upcoming holiday. His last Christmas with us, at age 85, Ed made over 45 ornaments. His ornaments made of other "star-stuff" are a testament to the person he was, a loving, generous, inventive, and a curious man of the cosmos, and he will be remembered each time one is hung on a tree.
Ed leaves his two daughters Laurie Cassinelli Cray and husband Bruce Cray, Debra Cassinelli and friend Roger Trabucco; six grandchildren Tristan Cray and partner Amy Bergen, Ainsley Cray and partner Joe Pillar, Jacob Cassinell and wife Erica Casinelli (Steinhauser) with great-granddaughter Sophia Lilly Cassinelli, Heidi Cray and partner Doug Graham, Devin Cassinelli and wife Kendra Cassinelli (Noll) with great-granddaughter daughter Harper Bella Cassinelli, Trevor Cassinelli and wife Sarah Cassinelli (Corsini) with great granddaughter McKennna Wren Cassinell; daughter-in-law Maggie Cassinelli; many nieces; countless dear friends; and of course, his little dog, Sam to carry on his story. Ed is preceded in death by his wife Janet Cassinelli (Slater) and their son David Allen Cassinelli.
In lieu of flowers, donate to the Macular Degeneration Society or Vietnam Veterans of America.