Frederick James “Pop” Costello, 82, of Bonita Springs, FL died on July 31, 2019 after a long illness. While Fred enjoyed a successful career, his most treasured work was building a family with Nancy Peters, his high school sweetheart and wife of 60 years, whom he frequently called “the center of my universe.”
Fred was born on June 11, 1937 in Pittsfield MA, to James V Costello, an immigrant from Spain and Elsie Broga whose American roots trace to 1630 settlers of Connecticut. The couple raised Fred and his two siblings on the family farm on Greenwater Pond in nearby Becket-- a modest homestead on land granted to Andrew Broga, Elsie’s great grandfather, for his service in the Revolutionary War. Fred and his brother John lovingly maintained the property over the years and because of their generosity, ensuing generations have enjoyed fishing, late-night bonfires and flashlight tag on its grounds.
Fred graduated from Lee High School and earned a BS from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he majored in chemical engineering and pursued football, Greek life, and of course, his girlfriend Nancy, to whom he proposed before graduating.
Fred and Nancy went on to raise six children while Fred led a long and accomplished career with Union Carbide. The family lived in six states and Fred especially enjoyed the years he spent in Hong Kong and Tokyo. After their children were grown, Fred and Nancy settled in Washington, CT, where on Sundays you could hear Fred, a skilled tenor, singing hymns from the balcony at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Music infused Fred’s life, whether he was listening to the Boston Pops with his family on a picnic blanket under the stars at Tanglewood, or leading his children in song while he played the autoharp. His children and many grandchildren inherited Fred’s love of music, and no family gathering was complete unless children and adults of all ages were singing and performing.
In retirement, Fred and Nancy moved to Bonita Springs, FL where Fred served as President of WPI’s Alumni Association and on the boards of Benjamin Moore, Bonita Springs Center for the Arts, and Bonita Springs Community Foundation, among others. The couple continued to travel the country in order to welcome the latest additions to their ever-growing family, which would eventually include 20 grandchildren and one great grandchild. During these trips, “Pop” loved to work night patrol so that weary parents could rest; cradling wailing newborns in his arms for hours on end, gently singing them to sleep. As his grandchildren grew, Pop continued to wrap them in bear hugs and “I love yous” and he treasured nothing more than fishing with them off the dock at Greenwater Pond or on cruises around Bonita Bay.
Fred is survived by his loving wife Nancy and their six children and spouses, Fred Costello Jr. and Ann Nobis of Bonita Springs, FL; Catherine and Ronnie Bennett of Bethlehem, GA; Daniel Costello and Kerry Bernard of Maynard, MA; Suzanne Costello and Jeff Keffer of Arlington, MA; James Costello and Candy Chan of San Antonio, TX, and Amy Costello and Gregory Watt of Austin, TX. Fred was predeceased by his son-in-law Jim Christmann, his grandson Peter Keffer-Fries and granddaughter Stephanie Kay Bennett. He leaves his siblings and their spouses, Dorinda and Don Moffatt of Vero Beach, FL and John and Sandy Costello of Bradenton, FL.
A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, August 6th, at 10 AM at St. Mary’s Church, 140 Main Street in Lee, MA. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, 208 Spring Street in Lee. Visiting hours will be on Monday, August 5th, from 4-6 PM at the Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main Street in Lee. There will be a Memorial Service for Fred at a date to be determined in Bonita Springs Florida.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Fred’s memory may be made to the “James V. Costello Scholarship” which supports low-income students at his beloved alma mater: Please send in c/o the Kelly Funeral Home 3 Main Street Lee, MA 01238.
James V. Costello Scholarship
c/o Kelly Funeral Home 3 Main Street, Lee MA 01238