"May the choirs of Angels come to greet you. May they speed you to Paradise. May the lord enfold you in his mercy. May you find eternal life." - Song of Farewell by Ernest Sands. Many things happened in 1908. The first Model T Ford came off the production line. The Wright brothers took passengers on their flights. The ball in Times Square dropped for the first time and Mother's Day was declared an official holiday. Another wonderful thing happened to Charles and Josephine Cangelosi of Baton Rouge: the birth of their second daughter, Chetta. Chetta was born on June 20, 1908 into a world where there was no commercial radio, TV or talking movies, no antibiotics or X-rays, or thousands of things taken for granted every day. Over her 104 ½ years of life, Chetta would see miraculous changes occur almost daily and yet, it was her constant devotion to three things that defined her - her love of her family, education and her Catholic faith. Chetta was the second of seven children reared in the Cangelosi home on Laurel Street in downtown Baton Rouge. She graduated from St. Joseph's Academy in 1926 and was named an Outstanding Alumnae in 2000. After graduation, 'Miss Chetta' began teaching at Sacred Heart School. She was the first lay teacher at Sacred Heart. Miss Chetta always had a ready smile and an open heart for her pupils. She stressed the importance of higher education, learned from her father, and earned her degree from LSU while teaching at Sacred Heart. This accomplishment was a rarity among women, who were only required to complete 11th grade at that time. Thus she served as a role model and teacher for her students. Although Miss Chetta never married, she lived a very active life. She and her sisters would travel to Europe and throughout the USA every summer and were involved in many social events around Baton Rouge. She retired from teaching after 40 years but remained active in several ministries at her Baptismal parish, St. Joseph Cathedral. Miss Chetta walked to daily Mass and school until the age of 40, when she decided she needed to learn to drive. She bought a car she called 'Suzy' and attended driving school. She was a member of the Catholic Daughters and the Secular Order of St. Francis. When a fall while cooking resulted in a broken hip, she chose to go to Ollie Steel Burden Manor so she could continue attending daily Mass. She died at Ollie Steele on March 1, 2013 at 3:06 a.m. with her Rosary in her hands. She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Charles and Josephine Cangelosi; her sisters: Lena Cangelosi, Sara Cangelosi Cascio, Rosalie Cangelosi; and her brothers: Rosario (Buster) Cangelosi and Sam Cangelosi. She is survived by her sister, Josie Cangelosi of Ollie Steele Burden Manor, numerous nieces, nephews and relatives. The Rite of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Francis Chapel at Ollie Steele Manor at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, March 4, 2013 followed by burial at Roselawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to St. Joseph Cathedral. Special thank-you to the caring and wonderful staff at Ollie Steele Burden Manor and her sitter, Koneisha Bruce.
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Published in TheAdvocate.com from Mar. 1 to Mar. 4, 2013