2014-10-23 / Obituaries

Louis Leon Cavagnaro

Louis Leon Cavagnaro was born on July 7, 1927 and died on Oct. 10, 2014.

Louis lived a life that was truly California’s story, beginning in the same early 20th century California valley that Ansel Adams saw through his lens.

Born in Merced to Ruth Madeline Hart, a teacher, and Louis Julius Cavagnaro, a barber, Louis studied in a one-room schoolhouse, picked celery in the Sacramento delta during his summers and lived in a tent in Yosemite while his dad worked on building the Tuolomne Road. His paternal grandparents, immigrants from Italy, opened the first general store and livery in Yosemite Valley. Louis’s great uncle is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Yosemite Valley.

Louis enlisted in the Navy in 1945, and served eight years at stations including Alaska and Hawaii. He forged a career as an electronics technician, helping to build The Dish that is a favorite among Stanford walkers and runners.

A posting to build a satellite dish outside Fraserberg, Scotland, proved fortuitous as he met his future wife Catherine Mary Kickham, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland. He brought her back to California where they married in 1960. In 1966 they settled into their Sunnyvale house that Louis would call home until his passing.

Louis worked for some of Silicon Valley’s leading technology firms: SRI, Sylvania, SLAC, and Memorex. But a shared love and heritage drove Louis and Cathy to found the Celtic Shoppe in Cupertino in 1983, moving to downtown Campbell in 2006. The shop has become a beloved mainstay for the Bay Area’s Celtic communities and is ever present at Scottish and Irish events throughout the state.

Louis loved the outdoors and when he wasn’t busy at the shop, you could find him exploring local nature preserves. One of his favorites, Picchetti Ranch, celebrates the natural beauty of his California birthplace.

Close friends and family helped Louis and Cathy through the cancer that would eventually take his life; for that his family is grateful.

Louis is survived by his beloved wife Cathy; his brother Francis of Mt. Bullion; daughters Ruth, Louise (Wayne), and Catherine; and grandchildren Robert, Noreen, Will, Jack, and Pete.

Services were held Oct. 21 in Campbell. Those wishing to honor Louis’s memory with a donation are encouraged to contribute to the Humane Society in Silicon Valley, and Hospice of the Valley.

A very sincere thank you to all of you who have been a part of Louis’s life.

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