Carl C. Repetti

[Age 98] BGE manager brought comfort for 50 years to many who attended novenas at downtown's St. Jude Shrine.

March 07, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,sun reporter

Carl C. Repetti, a well-known figure at the St. Jude Shrine in downtown Baltimore where he assisted in the Wednesday noon novena for half a century, died of heart failure and pneumonia Thursday at Carroll Hospice's Dove House in Westminster. He was 98.

Mr. Repetti, the son of Italian immigrants, was born in Baltimore and raised in the city's Gwynns Falls neighborhood.

"His house was right next door to the No. 15 streetcar loop," said a son, John R. Repetti of Marriottsville.

After graduating from Polytechnic Institute in 1927, he began working for BGE as a door-to-door salesman and became an appliance store manager. He retired in 1969 as general sales manager for all of the company's Baltimore-area appliance stores and later became a funeral home attendant.

During the 1950s, Mr. Repetti was a referee for soccer games at the Naval Academy.

"I used to go with my father, and I was allowed to take a friend," his son said. "It was so exciting. We'd go into the locker room after the game, and on the way home, he'd always stop at a drive-in in Glen Burnie and buy us a couple of big milkshakes.

"He was a very religious man who spent two hours a day saying his prayers and had read the Bible 25 times," his son said. "He never preached religion, yet reached so many people through his work with the church."

A longtime Randallstown resident, Mr. Repetti was a communicant there of Holy Family Roman Catholic Church. But beginning in 1954, he would walk from BGE's West Lexington Street building to the St. Jude Shrine at 308 N. Paca St., where he assisted in the Wednesday novena.

He maintained his Wednesday noon routine until two years ago, when his health began to fail and he and his wife moved to Woodbine to live with their daughter and son-in-law.

"He always came dressed in a suit and a tie and drove himself down here until he was in his early 90s. This work was extremely important to him. He was there Wednesday noon, no matter what," said the Rev. Frank S. Donio, St. Jude's former rector.

"Carl was not only our lector but also Eucharistic minister and served Mass. He was a man who lived his faith by example and was very spiritual. He was kind, considerate and gentle with people from all walks of life who came to St. Jude's. Everyone knew and loved him," said Father Donio, now rector of the Pallotine Seminary in Hyattsville.

"He followed a set pattern before each novena. He'd check the clock and hold up two fingers, which meant we had two minutes to go before noon, and then he'd signal the organist the same way," said Father Donio, who will officiate at Mr. Repetti's Mass of Christian burial at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Jude.

"Carl was a humble man, and his favorite hymn, which we will have at his Mass, is `Oh, Lord, I Am Not Worthy,'" Father Donio said.

"When any of the children in the family were sick or cranky, he'd pick them up and put them on his shoulder and walk for hours, softly singing `Oh Lord, I Am Not Worthy,' and that seemed to soothe and calm them down and make them fall asleep," his son said.

From 1974 to 1991, Mr. Repetti was an attendant at Loring Byers Funeral Home in Randallstown.

"He didn't plan funerals, but he'd work the floor and drive our limousines. He was a very comforting presence," said Arthur T. Queen, former owner of Loring Byers. "He had lots of energy and worked circles around our young people."

Mr. Queen, who now owns the Burrier-Queen Funeral Home in Winfield, said Mr. Repetti often assisted at Roman Catholic funerals. "He knew everybody," Mr. Queen said. "If for some reason an altar boy failed to show up, he'd take over."

Also surviving are his wife of 68 years, the former Anna M. Falise; another son, Carl F. Repetti of Gamber; a daughter, Rosemary Broussard of Woodbine; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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