Obituary: Alfonso "Jake" R. Cavaliere, 82, of Trumbull

Alfonso (Jake) R. Cavaliere, age 82, of Trumbull, beloved husband of the late Barbara Kassay Cavaliere, died unexpectedly yet peacefully at his home, Friday, October 25, 2013.

Born in Bridgeport on February 17, 1931, he was a son of the late Alfonso and Josephine Cavaliere.

He was a 1949 graduate of Central High School, where he made his mark as a pitcher on the baseball team. He was also a 1951 graduate of Bullard Havens Technical School. Always striving to further his education, he taught himself algebra and trigonometry in a correspondence course.

He was fiercely patriotic, and proudly served in the U.S. Army in Japan from 1952 to 1954. In 1955, he married Barbara Kassay, the love of his life. He built a home for the two of them in Trumbull, where they raised their three daughters. He was very much a devoted family man who needed not much more than his family to be content.

Jake had a long and successful career in construction, starting as an apprentice carpenter, and working his way to becoming a well-respected, meticulous superintendent for John J. Brennan Construction for many years. He loved running many substantial and varied jobs, and treasured the camaraderie of his co-workers.

Many happy years were spent playing golf with his wife, Barbara. Later, he selflessly cared for her throughout her extensive battle with Parkinson’s. Before she became too ill to travel, they greatly surprised their family by taking a cross country journey.

During retirement, he discovered and nurtured a great love for reading, particularly of historical nonfiction on U.S. wars, generals, and presidents. He kept a dictionary beside his reading chair, and looked up and wrote down any word he did not know. Also as a hobby in retirement, he made wooden ‘garden ornaments’ or miniature churches that were available for sale in a notable art gallery and garden center.

Jake was a great man. He will be remembered for his work ethic, humility, integrity, and the truest empathy for others. He had the gift of gab and laughter, and uplifted others in sickness. He quietly did so much for others, wanting nothing in return.

He was truly content with the smallest of things. While he loved the time spent with his children and grandchildren, there was an underlying sadness after Barbara died. Clearly, his Christian faith provided the endurance it took to carry on the 14 years without her. He has joined her now, and he is blessed.

Survivors include three loving daughters, Laurie Bussell and her husband Larry of Derby, Janet Hawkins and her husband Stuart of West Simsbury, and Donna O’Connor and her husband Sean of New Canaan, seven cherished grandchildren, David and Justin Bussell, Kelsey and Braelynn Hawkins, and Dylan, Mitchell and Mikayla O’Connor, a brother, Joseph Cavaliere of Trumbull, as well as many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by two brothers, Vincent and Frank Cavaliere and a sister, Mary “Lil” O’Hara.

A Memorial Mass celebrating his life will take place on Saturday November 2, 2013 at 11 a.m. at St. Margaret’s Shrine 2523 Park Ave, Bridgeport. Interment will be private at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that memorial contributions be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, in memory of Jake’s wife, Barbara. Donations can be made to: or The Michael J. Fox Foundation, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, NY, NY 10163.

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