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August 11, 2020
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What’s Truly Good About Chester

Published March 18, 2020

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The world doesn’t stop spinning, even for a micro-second, when someone passes on. But our personal world often does. So I believe it’s worthwhile to point out how for many people in Chester during the past several weeks, the community had two brief bumps and stops.

Joan P. “Joanie” Castelli passed away Feb. 28 at age 81. Joan’s husband of 60 years, Charles H. “Charlie” Castelli, Sr., had passed away Feb. 7, also age 81. Joan and Charlie Castelli’s lives were woven deeply into everything good about Chester, visible and not. Family and friends, businesses, Joan’s work at John Winthrop, decades of involvement in the Chester Hose Co., all of it separately and together comprising what is truly good about Chester and the nearby environment.

And when it came to environment, neither Joan nor Charles wore a pin on their lapel or flaunted a bumper sticker about saving the world. But almost every day, in any reasonable weather, Joan and Charles could be found moving slowly and observantly through the most natural areas of the Lower Connecticut River Valley. They knew the birds and other wildlife, the marshes and river banks, and were always engaged with Mother Nature and the splendor she gives us, especially here in Chester.

There was no pretentiousness to this, and no pretentiousness about Joan and Charles. If anything, pretentiousness was quickly called out and knocked down by Joan, whose wit and intellect shined through. These were good, decent, down-to-earth people whose legacy is eight decades of positive involvement in many aspects of community life.

I know I’m going to miss them as neighbors, whether driving past their multi-generation family home, or seeing Joan and Charles Castelli on the lookout for the most important things in life.

Joe Cohen
Chester