Salvatore P. “Sam” Carabetta, one of the founders of the Carabetta Companies, “loved being from Meriden. … He was the nicest man. He seemed to be tough on the outside, but inside his heart was pure gold.” That’s how his great niece, Cristina Carabetta, remembers him, as do other members of the family and friends.
Sam Carabetta, 94, died at home on July 18. Born in Meriden in 1926, he grew up during the Great Depression and founded Carabetta Brothers Builders with his four brothers in the late 1940s, after serving with his brother Joe in the South Pacific during World War II.
“The bond those brothers had, bar none, I've never seen anything like it,” said family friend and former City Councilor Tony Tomassetti.
The brothers went on to build thousands of apartment units throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts, including in Meriden, where the company manages a large portfolio of residential properties. Joe and Sam Carabetta were named grand marshals of Meriden's Memorial Day parade in 2017.
Many called him “Uncle Sam,” but that’s not to suggest that he was a pushover.
“Don't get me wrong, he was tough,” said Sam’s great nephew, Joe Carabetta III; “Growing up in the Great Depression and coming from nothing and then starting a company and being one of the founders of Carabetta and getting it to where it is today, it doesn't come easy.”
Sam Carabetta specialized in demolition projects, large and small, his great nephew said. “It didn't matter how big a building was, he would figure out a way to get it down and do it right.”
Sam stayed involved in the family business until the very end, Joe Carabetta III said. “He would tell you he never retired. In his eyes, he was always working. He loved it.”
“It's a tremendous loss for our community,” Mayor Kevin Scarpati said of Sam Carabetta’s passing.