Katherine Caracciolo Obituary

Katherine Frances Caracciolo
Katherine Frances Caracciolo

January 12, 1925 - October 22, 2021
Born in Des Moines, Iowa
Resided in Honolulu, Hawaii
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Katherine Frances Ursano Caracciolo (a/k/a Katie, Kay, Tinker), 96, of Honolulu, Hawaii and formerly of Des Moines passed away on October 22, 2021.

Katherine was born on January 12, 1925, the third of Peter and Anna Renda Ursano’s four children. Katherine’s lifelong devotion to her family, friends, and community made her a legend on the Southside of Des Moines. She spent the vast majority of her life in Des Moines (with short stints in Italy, Brooklyn, NY, and Honolulu, HI). Katherine graduated from Ottumwa Heights Academy and shortly thereafter caught her future husband’s eye while mowing her parent’s front yard. In addition to being a strong, fiercely independent and intelligent woman Katherine was also beautiful on the inside and out.

Katherine and her husband Ralph moved to his hometown of Brooklyn, New York shortly after their wedding. Katherine worked and raised their two daughters in Brooklyn and developed deep lifelong relationships with her in-laws. Her ties to Des Moines were too strong to keep her away for long. After about a dozen years in New York, Katherine and Ralph settled permanently in Des Moines. Katherine worked for Allied Insurance until her retirement at age 55. She started her second career six months later as a bilingual outreach social worker at Pioneer Columbus for the City of Des Moines—a job she held for nearly 30 years. Katherine’s favorite part of her job for the City was organizing the annual holiday basket fundraiser for families in need. Each fall, she would go out into the community with her co-workers to solicit donations for the food baskets and then happily hand out the baskets right before the holidays.

Katherine’s hobby career was politics. She loved campaigning for her favorite local candidates. Door knocking and absentee ballot gathering were her favorites. In addition to her career and volunteer work, Katherine’s passion was her family and her friends who were like family. Katherine could be found most evenings having coffee and cake at her sister Mary’s or sitting around her own kitchen table having coffee and smoking with her best girlfriends. She opened her house to family and friends every Sunday night for pasta and shared the produce from her large garden every summer.

She was a guiding force in the lives of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Katherine was lovingly devoted to her husband for 72 years before his passing in 2019. They truly had a lifelong passionate love affair.

Katherine was predeceased by her husband, parents, sister Mary (Joe) Soda, brothers Anthony (Madeline) and Peter Ursano,“daughter” little Sandy Cataldo and great-granddaughter Charlotte Lock.

She is survived by her daughters Maureen Caracciolo (Dennis Sinnard) and ErminiaCaracciolo (Craig Shelton), her grandchildren Katie Cownie (Damien Lock), Charlie Cownie (Kerry), John-Kawika Renda Shelton, Suzie Cownie (Dustin Harris) and Frankie Cownie, seven great grand children, her brother-in-law Carmine Caracciolo, and many nieces and nephews.

Katherine’s funeral mass will be at St. Anthony’s Church in Des Moines where she was a lifelong member at 11AM on Monday, November 15th with burial immediately following at Glendale Cemetery.





St. Anthony's Catholic Church
Indianola Avenue & SW 1st Street
Des Moines, IA US 50315
Monday, November 15, 2021
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
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Memorial Mass
St. Anthony's Catholic Church
Indianola Avenue & SW 1st Street
Des Moines, IA US 50315
Monday, November 15, 2021
11:00 AM
Glendale Cemetery
4909 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
Monday, November 15, 2021
12:30 PM
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Iowa Department for the Blind
524 Fourth Street
Des Moines, IA US 50309