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In Memory

Felix Cataldo

Felix Cataldo

Coach Felix Cataldo had a short but well remembered tenure at Mastbaum, serving in the Phys. Ed. department for two years prior to the arrival of Ralph Schneider.  He was my coach on the 1956 JV Public League Championship soccer team.  He coached Varsity Baseball, and one of the more influential teachers that I had in my four years at Mastbaum. 

Larry Bosler, 1958 June

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06/27/14 01:07 PM #1    

Kathleen Gerold (Lawrence) (1972)

I remember Mr. Cataldo's bright smile on his face. He was the head of the Phys. Ed. Dept. in 1972.


09/10/14 05:45 PM #2    

Lawrence Bosler (1958)

Felix A. Cataldo, 61, director of health and physical education for the School District of Philadelphia, died Thursday at Pine Run Community Center. He lived in Feasterville.

An easygoing lover of sports, Mr. Cataldo held the job of director for the last 10 years, but athletics - playing, coaching and officiating - were a passion throughout his life.

At Frankford High School, from which he graduated in 1948, Mr. Cataldo played varsity baseball and soccer. At Temple University, where he received a bachelor's degree and later a graduate degree in physical education, he played varsity baseball and soccer yet again. Ultimately, Mr. Cataldo earned a master's degree in physical education.

His skill at baseball prompted him to go professional for one year in 1953, when he joined the Canadian League, playing for Edmundston, New Brunswick. That year, he also signed up for Philadelphia's suburban league, a membership he would retain for the next 15 years, as he played ball for Cheltenham and Lawncrest.

His service to the school system began in 1952, when he was a physical- education and health teacher at Bartlett Junior High School (which is now closed) and at Mastbaum and Central High Schools. He was head of the physical- education departments at Mastbaum and Washington High Schools.

In 1974, Mr. Cataldo became assistant director of health and physical education for the Philadelphia School District, and five years later, he was named to the top job.

It was a job that occasionally thrust Mr. Cataldo into the role of spokesman for physical education, as in 1982 when he argued before the school board against applying overly rigid academic standards that would make athletes afraid to go to school.

"He always emphasized the three R's," his son Stephen Cataldo recalled yesterday, "although he always felt extracurricular activities kept every student more interested in learning."

Mr. Cataldo belonged to numerous organizations, including the American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, the Philadelphia Association of School Administrators and the Phi Epsilon Kappa Physical Education Fraternity. He also served on several community recreation boards, such as the Lawncrest Improvement Association and the Buck Ridge Farms Civic Association, and was commissioner of the baseball league for high school players in Philadelphia in 1967 and 1968.

One of Mr. Cataldo's favorite extracurricular activities was golf. "He would also run constantly," Stephen Cataldo recalled.

Survivors include his wife, Helen; two daughters, Susan Keppley and Nancy Brown; two sons, Stephen and Michael, and three grandchildren.

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