John Joseph Contolini, son of the late Edward and Ester Contolini, died March 26, 2010, at the age of 97.

He is survived by his wife, Helen Contolini, to whom he was married for 64 years; his three daughters, Nancy Contolini of Oceanside, Oreg., Arty Blue of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; and Carol Ringelberg and her husband, David of Bradford, Vt.; his son, Robert Contolini and his wife, Judy of Lake Oswego, Oreg.; one brother, Edward Contolini and his wife, Frances of Fairfield; five grandchildren, Gabriel, Jenny, Jeffrey, Christopher and Gina; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by a brother, Mario Contolini, and two sisters, Mary Mueller and Ulanda Duffy.

Contolini was born on April 3, 1913, in Bridgeport. Following graduation from trade school, he embarked on a career in carpentry that spanned nearly 50 years. He was a lifelong member of Connecticut Carpenters who took great pride in his work and was widely recognized as a skilled craftsman of the trade.

Shortly after Contolini's career began, he was drafted for service in the U.S. military 1941, selected as an airplane mechanic and sent to Michigan for training in a reconfigured automobile plant. He served overseas in Italy and ended his time in service at the rank of sergeant, 80th Depot Repair Squadron, Army Air Forces with an honorable discharge on Nov. 26, 1945.

Immediately upon his release, Contolini asked his sweetheart, Helen Tomasko of Stratford, to marry him, to which she agreed. They were married on Jan. 5, 1946, at Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Bridgeport.

As Contolini's carpentry career continued, Helen and he began a family, beginning with a daughter, Nancy, in 1947, then another daughter, Arty, in 1949, and a son, Robert, in 1950. During this period he built the families home in Fairfield and started a business with partner John O'Connell.

Even following "retirement," Contolini continued to pursue his craft, helping friends and neighbors with additions and remodels.

An unexpected but delightful surprise arrived in 1960 in the form of a daughter, Carol. After bringing up his children, Contolini got to fulfill some of his lifelong desires when he traveled to Ireland, Alaska and his family's home town of Ferrara, Italy.

He loved to bowl with the Holy Family League -- even earning a perfect score -- playing pinochle with family and friends and having a fine Italian dinner and wine.

Contolini was a perfectionist in all that he did, a value he instilled in all of his children. Services took place in the Lesko and Polke Funeral Home, 1209 Post Road, Fairfield, on Monday; Father Guido Montanaro officiated and interment followed in Mountain Grove Cemetery, with full military honors. Calling hours took place Monday.

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