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Deacon James V. Cantella 1963-2023


Deacon James Cantella, a member of the “Magnificent Seven” deacons ordained just this past May, passed away July 11, 2023, at Niagara Hospice House in Lockport.

Deacon James Cantella and his wife, Maria, pose with Bishop Michael W. Fisher at Deacon Cantella’s diaconal ordination, May 20, 2023. (Photo by Nicole Dzimira)

Born Nov. 16, 1963, in Rochester to James P. and Janice (Johnson) Cantella, he attended the University at Buffalo obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in education. Later in his career, he attended SUNY Brockport for a second master’s in school administration, and most recently a third master’s in arts and pastoral studies from St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in Rochester.

Known as “Mr. C” to his students, Deacon Cantella taught math at Barker Central School for 33 years before retiring in 2021. He was a coach, lifeguard and was in charge of summer recreation and adult education for many years. On May 20, he was ordained as a permanent deacon with the Buffalo Catholic Diocese.

He was a member St. Brendan on the Lake Parish in Newfane, serving on the parish council, as catechist, and the Catholic Charities coordinator. He was also a member of the spiritual care team at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Knights of Columbus # 319, was an assistant troop leader for Boy Scout Troop 26, and was the recipient of the Lion’s Club Richard Uplinger Distinguished Service Award for his service and commitment to the Barker community.

He was known as the go to guy in the community for tech support and electronics repair, a handy man to many.

Surviving is his wife, Maria; his mother, Janice; children, Jim (Laurel) Cantella, Peter (Rachel) Cantella, Marianna (Larry) Giorgi and Joe Cantella; siblings, Lisa (Dan Reeder) Cantella, Michael (David Scott) Cantella and David (Pam) Cantella; his grandchildren, Jimmy, Emmy, Jack and Evelyn; sister in-law Laurie Cantella and several nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his brother Steve Cantella.

Family and friends may call on Saturday, July 15, from 2-7 p.m., at the Rutland-Corwin Funeral Home Inc. 2670 Main St. Newfane, and on Sunday, July 16 from 4-7 p.m. at St. Brendan on the Lake 3455 Ewings Road, Newfane. A funeral Mass will be held Monday, July 17, at 10 a.m. at the church with Bishop Michael W. Fisher as main celebrant. Burial will be in St. Charles Cemetery.