Carl Vincent Puleo, a compassionate, loving and devoted son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend and resident of Hamden, formerly of Madison, died December 29, 2019 in Hartford, Connecticut. Carl was born May 21, 1929 in Oil City, Pennsylvania to the late Carlo, who immigrated with his family from Palermo, Sicily, and Jessie Eakin Puleo. During his early years, Carl worked at his father's shoe repair shop. He graduated from Oil City High School in 1947. Carl enlisted and served four years in the U.S. Air Force as an air traffic controller, including a year on Johnston Island in the western Pacific. After completing his military service, Carl married Marilyn Elizabeth Hardie of Oil City, the love of his life since Methodist Youth Fellowship, on November 10, 1951. They moved to Evanston, Illinois where Carl pursued his college education at Kendall College, then Northwestern University where he received his BA in Psychology. He later received his MBA from University of New Haven. Having explored Methodist related vocations in the field of human relations, Carl was invited to begin his career in personnel and rehabilitation with Goodwill Industries of America in Baltimore, Maryland in 1956. He was then invited to become the executive director of the Portland, Maine Goodwill Industries in 1964. Carl and his family moved to Hamden, Connecticut in 1967 where he became the executive director of the Goodwill Industries of Central Connecticut located in New Haven. A merger of Goodwill Industries, Easter Seal Society and New Haven Rehabilitation Center was consummated into a comprehensive rehabilitation facility where he was the executive director. Carl later became the president-founder of a consulting organization, New England England Association of Business, Industry, and Rehabilitation (NEABIR), working directly with sheltered workshops and vocational rehabilitation facilities in Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire. Its mission was to procure federal funding to assist facilities in developing business advisory councils to assist in moving persons with disabilities with support into real jobs within business and industry. After 35 years in the field of rehabilitation addressing the multiple needs of persons with disabilities, Carl retired in 1991. Retirement brought opportunities for Carl and Marilyn to spend time with family and friends, provide service to their broader church community, and expand their artistic talents through drawing and painting, choral and dulcimer music, woodworking, blacksmithing and gardening. Carl spent several years working in the kitchen of his son-in-law's restaurant. Spirituality was always at the heart and soul of Carl. His relationship with the Brothers of Weston Priory and with the Sisters of Mount Saint Benedict in Erie, Pennsylvania and their inter-denomination oblate program to which he made an annual commitment for twenty years, complemented his lifetime ministry within the Methodist Church. Since the War in Afghanistan and Iraq, Carl faithfully prayed for PEACE in Washington DC, New York, Hartford and Madison, and on the steps of First and Summerfield United Methodist Church in New Haven each week where his friends sought sanctuary.
Carl is survived by his three daughters and sons-in-law, Tonja and Jeff Kelly of Tolland, Beth and Phil Biondi of Clinton, Theresa and Rick Bombace of Hamden. In addition, he is survived by five grandchildren, Megan Kelly O'Shea (Jesse O'Shea), Kara Kelly, Michael Biondi, Alyssa Kelly, Matthew Biondi; two great-grandsons, Brayden and Connor O'Shea; his brother, James Puleo and his wife Loraine of Oil City, PA, and numerous nieces and nephews. Carl was predeceased by his beloved wife of 51 years, Marilyn, his granddaughter, Kristen Leigh Biondi, and his sister, Anna Marie Jordan of Oil City, PA.
A memorial service celebrating the life of Carl Puleo will be held at First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, 425 College Street (Corner of College and Elm), New Haven at 11 a.m., Saturday, January 18. Following the service, there will be a reception in Trinity Hall at the church. A bus will be provided for his neighbors at Whitney Center. Memorials may be made to First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, 425 College St., New Haven, CT 06511, fsumc.org; Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA), PO Box 21, New Haven, CT 06501, www.ulanewhaven.org; or Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), 235 Nicoll St., 2nd floor, New Haven, CT 06511, iris.org. Arrangements are with the Hawley Lincoln Memorial, 1315 Boston Post Rd., Guilford. To sign the online guestbook please visit hawleylincolnmemorial.com.
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