Catherine “Joan” Distin Gagliardi, 80, of New Britain passed away Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. Joan was predeceased by her husband Louis O. Gagliardi. A lifelong New Britain resident, she attended St Mary’s School, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, and was a graduate of New Britain High School, class of 1955. Following high school, Joan studied dance in New York City at the Jack Stanly School of Dance. She performed in many dance productions and had been fortunate to have danced with Gene Kelly, Merv Griffin, and the Step Sisters. She made the final selection for the New York City Rockettes, however opted to return to New Britain and open her own school. Joan was the owner/artistic director of Distin’s Dancing School and later was the Director of the NB YWCA dance program until the early ’80s. Joan’s dance career never ended, teaching for over 60 years. She was preparing to teach a 12th season for Velocity Dance Works, her daughter’s dance school in Wolcott, where she had proudly taught since its opening.
Joan also worked for the City of New Britain Finance Department for several years until her retirement in 2005. Her many activities included working with her good friends on the Miss Greater New Britain Scholarship Pageant Committee.
She was a dedicated and loving mother; always supportive of her daughter’s dance career and of her son’s coaching career in football, calling him on every game day to wish the team well. She was a loving grandmother, always supporting her “munchkins” in everything they did.
Surviving is her daughter, C. Kelly Gagliardi-Dieguez and her husband, Alberto Dieguez, of New Britain; her son, Louis “Rocky” Gagliardi and his wife, Christine (Marinelli), of New Britain; her grandchildren (her “munchkins”), Cooper, Ty, and Jordan; a sister-in-law, Barbara Distin of Wethersfield, a sister-in-law, Sue Mazzoni and her husband, Lou, of New Britain; several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by a brother, Gordon R. Distin II.
Funeral Services are Saturday 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Carlson Funeral Home, 45 Franklin Square, New Britain, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial 10 a.m. at St. Maurice Church, 100 Wightman Road, New Britain. Burial will be in St. Mary Cemetery. Calling hours are Friday 4 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Joan Distin Gagliardi Scholarship Fund (for dance education), c/o Kelly Gagliardi Dieguez, P.O. Box 1552, New Britain, CT 06050. Please share a memory or note of sympathy at www.carlsonfuneralhome.com