Arthur Angelo CasiraghiMay 30, 1926 ~ August 6, 2017 (age 91)
WWII veteran, Col. Arthur (Art) A. Casiraghi, USAR, age 91, passed peacefully from this life into the next on Sunday, August 6, 2017 at his home in Houston, TX. He was born Arthur Angelo (Sonny) Casiraghi on May 30, 1926 in Austin, TX to parents, Arturo and Louisa Casiraghi, owners of Casiraghi’s Fine Italian Restaurant, who preceded him in death.
Art attended Mathews Elementary. At age 9, he learned to play the violin and he continued to play at Allen Junior High and Austin High School, from where he graduated in 1943. He was 1st Chair his senior year and he played with the Austin Civic Symphony during his high school years.
After Pearl Harbor at age 15, Art joined the Texas State Guard in 1941. He attended St. Edward’s University (at that time a military school) until June of 1944 when he was inducted into the US Army. He attended Basic Training and Radio Operations / Radio Procedures at Fort Riley, Kansas. He had a good ear for Morse Code, likely due to his violin experience.
After his 19th birthday, he was sent to Camp Anza, CA. From there, he made a treacherous trip by ship to the Burma China India (BCI) Theater to serve in WWII with the 153rd Military Police (MP) Company that was formed at Camp Kanchrapara, India. His group was relieved to learn of Japan’s unconditional surrender when they arrived in Ledo, India in August 1945. In February 1946, Art’s MP Company was sent to Calcutta, India to police deadly riots. In May 1946, Art completed his WWII service and returned to Austin, TX where he continued to serve in the 36th Infantry Division Headquarters Company.
September 5, 1949, Art married Jane McNamara. The Casiraghi and McNamara families were strongly connected over the years in several ways, through business, friendships and marriage. Most importantly, Art’s cousin, Clara Franzetti Newton, deceased, was Jane’s lifelong best friend. The Casiraghi family has been intertwined with the Franzetti Family going all the way back to Malgesso, a small town in northern Italy.
In 1951, Art graduated from St. Edward’s University, moved to Houston, TX and began his career in engineering as a draftsman with Southwest Fabricating & Welding. Over the years, his career became focused mostly on piping and materials, as he moved from to Texas Pipe Bending, American Metal Fabricating, Brown & Root, and Halliburton. He retired in 2002, and was well-respected and admired in his field.
Art’s military career continued in Houston as he served as a Commissioned Officer of the Texas Army National Guard in Headquarters Company of the 2nd Battalion of the 143rd Infantry of the 36th Division, known as the “T-Patchers”, one of the most decorated Divisions in WWI and WWII, who wore the insignia of an arrowhead with a “T” in the middle. He was so proud to be part of this distinguished unit. Altogether, Art served in the military for 36 years, starting as a Private, becoming Airborne in 1968, and retiring as a Colonel in 1981.
Throughout his life, Art was a member of or volunteer for various organizations, including East End YMCA, United Cerebral Palsy, Toastmasters, and the 36th Division Association. He was a life-long bowler and a Houston Astros fan.
Left to appreciate and treasure his memory are his wife of 67 years, Jane McNamara Casiraghi, his children, Sarah Ferrell (Andy), David Casiraghi (Eileen), Sandy Casiraghi, Ann Casiraghi (Paul Curran) and Margret Casiraghi, grandchildren, James Casiraghi (Soojinn Choi), Amanda Nicholson (TJ), Michael Casiraghi (Anna Kuhn), Kelli Youngblood (Matt), Michelle Curran, Austin Ferrell (Alisha) and Chiara Casiraghi and his great-grandchildren, Jace and Adley Nicholson, Emerie and Lane Youngblood, Olive Casiraghi and Annie Ferrell. He will also be remembered affectionately by his sister, Joy Besetsney (Clifford) and the entire Preece/Besetsney Family, and the entire McNamara/Seeger Family.
The family would like to thank Daivette, Mary and Lucy for the tender loving care they administered in his last weeks. We are forever grateful.
As a family member said at his passing, “He lived well, had lots of stories and was loved my many.”
“Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21
Services are scheduled for Saturday, August 12, 2017 at Cypress-Fairbanks Funeral Home with visitation starting at 9:30 AM and Celebration of Life at 10:30 AM. The address is 9926 Jones Road, Houston, TX. Mass will also be celebrated in Art’s memory at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Austin, TX on Saturday, September 2, 2017 at 10:00 AM, with burial service to follow at Austin Memorial Park Cemetery. The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Arturo & Louisa Casiraghi Endowment at St. Mary’s Cathedral School in Austin, TX. www.smcschoolaustin.org/to-donate. Another option for memorial contributions is Camp Hope, Houston Chapter www.ptsdusa.org, whose mission is to provide hope and healing for the unseen wounds of war.