Arnold John Celentano (October 3, 1929 – November 10, 2023)
Arnold passed away peacefully while asleep in his Louisville home on Friday, November 10,2023. He lived 94 full and productive years. Arnold leaves behind four generations of family members touched by his thoughtfulness and mentorship. They include his current wifeandsweetheartof34years, JoAnn Battista Myatt Celentano, and his first wife, Matilda Perretti Guardino, along with his numerous children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Arnold was a Professional Engineer, lifelong learner, problem solver and innovator. While still in high school, he repaired the big church organs in New York City like the one in Carnegie Hall, carefully tuning each of the 500 plus pipes, some large enough to walk into. He earned his BSEE degree at Cooper Union at night while working at Bell Laboratories. There, he served his country during wartime as a vital part of the design team on the top-secret navigation system used by the Navy and Air Force. Later he was granted three important commercial patents of the time, including the 13-foot automatic telephone answering machine. In the 60’s he constructed his first home from a prefab kit which was a contemporary open space design. Arnold went on to work at General Precision Labs and spun off his own engineering consultant firm that eventually designed the first centralized power generation switching and monitoring center for the NY Power Pool, which was essential to mitigate the blackouts that used to occur at the time. He taught himself how to play the piano and was quite fond of playing Blue Moon, and, although an admitted amateur, people really enjoyed his unplanned performances. Arnold did his own home improvements until his 80’s,and even afterward he directed the necessary upgrades and improvements to The Hartwell House while maintaining its historic value. At 94 he still used an iPhone and iPad to manage food deliveries, Airbnb, and other on-Iine services and Bluetooth gadgets.
Arnold was passionate about the communities he lived in and found numerous means to make those communities better. Born in New York City, Arnold enjoyed the city life but moved his family to Cortlandt, NY to raise his children. He was active in that community as a scout leader, school board president and conservationist before it was politically vogue. His Professional Engineering background would later earn Arnold the position of the Superintendent of Water and Sewage for the town. He officially retired in his 60’s but came out of retirement to serve the Louisville community as soon as he arrived some 30 years ago. He always volunteered as an election poll worker. Given his prior experience and demonstrated civic actions, Arnold was eventually asked to serve as the Chair of the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District Board, a great honor for him. He continued to consult part-time as a Professional Engineer well into his 80’s.
Arnold was an active member of the local community groups such as the 2nd Street Assoc., the 3rd Street Assoc.,the 1300 Block Neighborhood Assoc, Old Louisville Neighborhood Council, and the St. James Art Show. He especially enjoyed the Art Show and for years he enjoyed delivering coffee on Art Show mornings to the artists that were part of the 1300 Block portion of the show.
He also enjoyed actively sharing his interest with dear friends through small community groups like the local gourmet club, and gun club. Arnold regularly donated to the Arts & Museums such as The Derby Museum, The Speed Art Museum, and the UofL School of Music. Arnold’s love of food and the local community made him a regular at restaurants including The Cafe, The River House, and Buck’s. Arnold’s community service awards include the Louisville Mayor’s Citation for Outstanding Service and the Governor’s commissioning as an official Kentucky Colonel.
Arnold was a wise mentor. Inspiring many, he will be missed by all.