Frank Casa, of Hamden CT and Naples, FL died on August 28, 2016 at age 96. He lived a great life; a life dedicated to his family, friends, students and art. Frank was born in New Britain, CT in 1920 to Angelo and Sebastiana (Formica) Casa. He was a child of immigrant parents and grew up during the Great Depression, never forgetting the hardships faced by poor and immigrant families. He displayed an artistic talent at a young age, one he nurtured throughout his youth. After graduation from New Britain High School he worked in factories for two years before being able to enroll at the University of Iowa, which has one of the finest art schools in the country. His education was interrupted by World War II, in which his visual abilities were used by Military Intelligence to interpret aerial photos in preparation for battles, including the battle for the bridge at Arnhem and Nijmegen. He later was among the first troops that liberated a concentration camp in western Germany. After the war, Frank returned to Iowa, where he completed both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees. He was chosen as one of the early Fulbright Fellows and spent a year studying art at the University of Florence. He also won a Tiffany Fellowship in New York in 1952. He worked as an artist in New York City in the early 1950s, perhaps the greatest artistic place and time in US history. He returned to New Britain and in 1954 married Celestine (Cele) Apruzzese, to whom he remained married for 62 happy years, raising a family and traveling the world, from China to Egypt, Morocco, and many other places. He was the first art teacher at Stanley Holmes Elementary School in New Britain and later taught art at New Britain High. He became a professor of art at Central Connecticut State College in 1965, working there for over 20 years, teaching print making, life drawing, and art history. He finished his career at Central as chairman of the Art Department. Nobody ever loved his job more, especially the college years when he had every Friday off. He called teaching a 'vital part' of his life and he was well-liked by his students. Over the years his work showed in many places and exhibitions, including the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Institute in Minneapolis, the Philadelphia Print Annual Exhibit and the San Francisco Print Show. He had one-man shows in New York, Boston and Connecticut. His work received many honors, including one of his early works being purchased by the Library of Congress. He retired from teaching in 1986 and spent the remaining decades with Cele going back and forth between their homes in Burlington (CT) and Naples, Florida. He played golf, tennis and painted until he was almost 90, stopping only when he had trouble with his eyesight. He loved art, Italy and the Italian language, Italian food, and chocolate-frosted donuts. He was happiest when his family was together, was proud of his grandchildren and overjoyed whenever he was with them. Even in his later years he would light up in their presence. He always adored dogs and they loved him back. He was glad to have lived long enough to have seen the first black president of the United States and was excited by the prospect of the first woman president. He was a past President and Vice President of the CT Watercolor Society and a member of the CT Academy of Fine Arts. Active in the community, he served on the Burlington (CT) Economic Development Commission and Library Commission. He was predeceased by two brothers, John and Joseph Casa. He leaves his loving wife, Cele. He leaves a son, Gian-Carl Casa and his wife Cindy House, of New Haven. He leaves his daughter Elaine Welsh and her husband John of Johns Creek, Georgia. He will be missed deeply by his adored grandchildren: Carlo Casa of New York City, Jessica Welsh of Birmingham, Alabama, Amanda Welsh of Hamden, CT and Samantha Welsh of Brighton, Massachusetts. He also leaves seven nieces and nephews and their families. Friends are invited to visit with Frank's family on Thursday September 1 from 5-8 in the Beecher & Bennett Funeral Home, 2300 Whitney Ave. Hamden. A Memorial Service will take place in the funeral home on Friday September 2 at 11am. Interment to follow in Centerville Cemetery. A second Memorial Service will be held on Friday Sept. 9 at 11am in Memorial Hall on the Central Connecticut State University Campus. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Boys and Girls Club of New Britain, 150 Washington Street, New Britain, CT 06051 or designated to the Art Department, Central Connecticut State University (CCSU Foundation, PO Box 612, New Britain, CT 06050-0612.)

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  1. Frank Casa was my first art teacher in 2nd grade at Northend Elementary School in New Britain in 1958. I loved drawing and was thrilled to have a real art lesson in school. He drew a huge elegant swan and a house on the chalkboard. Then he said, .Your classroom teacher’s name is Miss Swanson, pointing to the swan. My name is Mr.Casa, which means house in Italian. I drew swans for weeks afterward. His lessons motivated me to eventually become an art teacher, teaching elementary art in NB for 32 years, now retired. I was privileged to work with him as a colleague when I was the graduate assistant in the CCSU art Dept. There he told me stories of WWII and him being part the the death camp liberation. He was a great teacher and person. He and Allen Brown taught me the joy of art history and architecture which still gives me joy. I’m sure I am only one of many that was influenced by his teaching. My sincere condolences to his family.

    Denise Bryzgel Roberts.

  2. We were sad to hear of the passing of Frank. His deep love of family and all things he loved had no bounds. He will be missed by all that loved and know him……Rest in Peace

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