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In Memory

Pete Catalena

Pete William Catalena, November 12, 1944—September 9, 2020

Pete William Catalena, 75, passed away in his home on September 9, 2020, in College Station, Texas.

Born on November 12, 1944, in Bryan, Texas, Pete graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School in 1963, and then from Texas A&M University in 1968, with a degree in Business Administration. After graduation, he served in the National Guard. He lived in Dallas, Florida, and Louisiana, married his wife Linda in 1971, and then moved to Houston. His early professional life included sales, construction, and restaurateur.

Eventually Pete and Linda moved back to Bryan, where Pete started Catalena Construction Co., specializing in residential and commercial construction. He was an entrepreneur who rolled with the punches and wasn’t afraid to take risks.

Pete’s introduction into the payphone business began in 1985. He started Texas Coinphone with eight payphones, and eventually had 1,400 spread across multiple states. The business was sold at the height of the industry in 1997. He and his partner, Dennis Goehring, started the Texas Payphone Association, which grew into a formidable force for the industry. In 1997, he was a founding member of NetNearU and was a pioneer in the internet and Wi-Fi industry. The company was sold to ViaSat in 2014.

Pete was generously involved in his community. He was a founding member of the Brazos County Go Texan Committee, where he also served as president. He was instrumental in starting the Brazos Valley Go Texan Endowed Scholarship, which has since funded 287 local students. Pete co-founded and choreographed the Catalena Cowgirls to enhance his brother Sammy’s rodeo company. The Cowgirls opened the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for 10 years and provided support for events involving the Lions Club and the special needs community.

He lived by the mantra “Work hard, play hard,” and he shared that passion with his family and friends. If you weren’t related by blood, you certainly were by love. He excelled at bringing his visualizations to life, and he was a master woodworker and constructor. When someone came to him with a project he exceeded expectations. Many of his creations are treasured by his friends and family and stand as part of his lasting legacy. He was the mastermind behind the interior woodwork and design of Catalena Hatters and Texas Rose Boutique.

There wasn’t a piece of heavy machinery he couldn’t operate or break trying. No matter what he was into, at the end of the day, there wasn’t anything he enjoyed more than spending time with family and friends with a good cigar and a smooth glass of scotch.

The visitation is Tuesday, September 15, at Hillier of Bryan, from 5:00—8:00 p.m., with a Rosary beginning at 6:30 p.m. A Celebration of Life begins at 11 a.m. on September 16, at the funeral home, with a graveside service to follow. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Bryan and Hospice Brazos Valley.

Pete is survived by his wife, Linda; sons, Cody (Lorin) and Brent Catalena (Mandi Autrey); daughter, Brooke Amador (Aaron); grandchildren, Cole, Kate, Caleb, and Charli Catalena, and Lucas, Woods, and West Amador; nephews/nieces, Clay (Sami Jo), Travis, and Scott (Michaela) Catalena; great nephews/nieces, Kember, Hays, and Clara Catalena; and sisters-in-law, Carolyn Catalena and Michaele Jackson.

He is preceded in death by his parents, William and Betty Catalena; and brothers, Sammy and Michael Catalena, of Bryan, Texas.

Special thanks to Joyce Martin and the staff of Brazos Valley Hospice for their service to the family.


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09/14/20 05:45 AM #2    

Danny Presnal

Pete was always one of the friendliest folks around.  After living away from BCS for 30 years, I moved back, and seeing Pete at the reunions (and also around town) it was just like we had been at SFA the day before.  He was a truely pleasant person to be around.  I'm pleased to see all the successes he had in life.  RIP Pete.

09/14/20 11:59 PM #3    

Nelda Moon (Thompson)

I was so saddened to hear of Pete's passing. He was such a huge part of our class and our community and always had a big smile and kind, encouraging words for everyone. He will be truly missed by all of us. RIP, Pete. ~ Nelda Moon Thompson

09/15/20 08:05 AM #4    

Jo Ann Blazek (Peters)

A good man!! He kept me laughing through high school just to get me in trouble in class of which he always denied. I loved his sense of humor and the expressions on his face. That smile I won't forget.
I admired his courage and strength, the love and concern for his family, friends, and community.
A great friend!! The Man, Pete Catalena.

09/15/20 12:56 PM #5    

Charlotte Cole (Wilson)

Gosh, we ALL liked Pete.  Who wouldn't with that smile on his face???  It was constant no matter what, which always made the atsmophere GREAT.  I am so impressed with all of his accomplishments that I just read about.  And, . . . . .  I am so sorry that I have missed so many of our "MINI" reunions so I could have learned about all that he had done in his life time face to face (if he would have told me!).  Then, I could have told him how proud I was to have known him!  I hope his children know what a tremendous man he was in so many ways.  We are all truly blessed to have known him from the "get go" when his good character began!!!  

09/15/20 01:44 PM #6    

Margaret Petroski (McAughan)

So sorry to lose Pete! I know he fought a good fight! Vaya con Dios Pete! 

09/16/20 10:10 AM #7    

Dick Barron

Wow.  This one hurts.  Pete and I were friends during high school but especially at A&M together.  When Martha and I were in Wichita Falls we'd go to A&M games and party and  celebrate victories (and losses) with them, and spend the night with them.  And boy did he ever find a peach in Linda.  To say that Pete "married-up"  is an understatement, as evidenced by their children and grandchildren -- sweet and loving -- that defines Linda.  All you have to do is look at those photos in the celebration of life section of the obit to see the love in the eyes of all of the family members, solidly held together by a loving mother and father.  I often thought about Pete and how he must have grieved over Sammy's passing a month or two ago and I was looking forward to the August mini-reunion so we could  visit "our way" once again, only to be knocked out by damned covid.  I will miss him but I find relief knowing I will see him someday soon.  

Way to go Pete.  Yours was a life well lived.

09/16/20 02:56 PM #8    

Karen Geppert (Miller)

Pete was a great friend and a very good person.  He taught me to water ski which became one of my biggest enjoyments in life.  I am so glad for the reunions we have had to have been able to see him again and to meet his sweet wife, Linda.  And, like Charlotte, I also had no idea he was such an entrepreneur!!  It sounds like he was a giver also to the community and the Rodeo Association.  My husband Harvey wanted to add that he also taught him how to ski and he also was able to meet up with him again at the reunions.  

09/18/20 08:03 AM #9    

Irene Boatcallie

So saddened for the loss of our friend Pete Catalena who always had a smile. Wonderful to see that he had such a full life with so many accomplishments.Feel really blessed to have had the opportunity to visit Linda and Pete at our mini reunions. He will be missed.

09/20/20 10:00 AM #10    

Dexter Morris

Dexter Morris posted a message.
Sep 17, 2020 at 2:19 pm

Pete was my best friend for all of 60 years. We met in high school but became fast friends loading aluminum windows on the night shift at Alenco during the summer. He was best man at my wedding and had all his teeth because my Mom wouldn't let him be in the wedding if he didn't replace a tooth he had knocked out LOL. We worked together in sales in Louisiana, built houses together and opened a restaurant in Houston. Pete designed the inside of the restaurant and he and I built it out ourselves ( we spit up brown stain for several weeks afterward/ no covid masks in 1973}. The only real fight we ever had was over a puppy, we were really tired that day, and all was fine the next morning. You couldn't stay mad at Pete and he wouldn't stay mad at you.Being bored, we started trail riding and ended up with our own 25 man club, horses ,trailers , rvs, etc. and had so much fun it was criminal; / no felonies.
Even when we talked in the last few months He was always joking and interested in how I was doing. He would always tell me when I asked; "I go to the docs every 90 days and they tell me if I/ll live another 90 days" and laugh. That was my friend and I miss him terribly.
GOD Bless Pete and Comfort sweet Linda until we're all together again, Amen


12/25/20 11:21 AM #11    

Phil Cox

Your testimonies on Pete are so nice and uplifting. Thru my own shortcomings I just learned yesterday of Pete passing away on September 14th. Pete is a wonderful 60 year friend. He is kind and caring to the utmost. Sincere condolences to the family and extended family.

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