Elio Giovani Felice Centenari died on September 26 in his home in Mays Chapel, Maryland, after a battle with lung cancer.
Born and raised in Venice, Italy, Elio attended the University of Padua Medical school. Following his father’s death he returned home to support his mother and younger brother.
He became a navigator for the Italian Navy. During his travels he met his wife of 49 years during a holiday in Brazil. They married within six weeks, at which time Elio began a new life in America. He and his new bride settled in Wellesley, Mass., and started a family.
Mr. Centenari was a self-made man. He created opportunities and was successful in every aspect of his life. He was a civil engineer by trade, primarily designing and building top-secret projects for the government. He took pride in his business but more importantly, he dedicated his life to his three children. He never missed a sporting event, recital, or show. He passed on his values of honesty, integrity, generosity, compassion, and the “Golden Rule” philosophies of life to his children.
In his retirement he cared for his wife Jean McGloin Centenari. They moved to Baltimore 1999 to be closer to their sons Peter and Paul. Finding he had more time, Elio pursued his passion for art. His mediums were painting and sculpture. He was exceptional at watercolors. He was a featured artist in many art shows.
After his beloved wife’s death in 2003, he developed another passion for singing. He immersed himself in the study of music and performed publicly with many local choirs as the lead soloist. He enjoyed sharing his voice for 7 years.
He is survived by three children and their spouses: Peter, who lives in Maryland with his wife, Sherine, and three children — Alexander (20), Kristina (15) and Gabrielle (14); Paul, who lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Elizabeth, and two children — Madison (16) and Isabella (12); Pia Centenari-Leonard, who lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, Richard, and two daughters — Tonya (24) and Brielle (22). He is also leaves a sister-in-law and several loving nieces and nephews who live from coast to coast.
The family will receive friends in the Lemmon Funeral Home of Dulaney Valley, Inc. 10 W. Padonia Road (at York Road) Timonium, Maryland on Thursday, from 4 to 7 pm. A funeral Mass will be celebrated in the Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier, 13717 Cuba Road, Hunt Valley, Maryland on Friday, October 1, at 11 am.
Interment will be in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There will be a graveside service at Cambridge City Cemetery Monday, October 4, at 1:30 pm. Family will receive friends and relatives at the George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home at 477 Washington St. (Rte. 16) in Wellesley between 11:30 to 12:30 pm, before the procession leaves for the cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in memory of Elio’s wife, Jean M. Centenari, may be made to Alzheimer’s Prevention Foundation, 2420 N. Pantano Road, Tucson, Ariz. 85715.
A guest register is available at www.lemmonfuneralhome.com.