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Charles A. Parente, Grumman engineer, dead at 84

Charles A. Parente

Charles A. Parente Credit: Parente family

Charles A. Parente, a lifelong resident of Oyster Bay whose work in acoustical engineering at Northrop Grumman Corporation received more than 20 patents, died on July 4 of complications related to Parkinson’s disease. He was 84.

Parente spent more than four decades at the aerospace company working to quiet the din of aircraft engines. His commitment to the task was matched only by his devotion to his wife and three children, they said.

“You couldn’t ask for a better father,” his daughter Kate Naismith said.

Parente was born in Oyster Bay in 1933, the youngest of three children, according to his wife, Peggy Parente, 71, who still lives in the seaside hamlet. His father, an Italian immigrant, was a caretaker at large estates that dotted Nassau’s North Shore, where Parente as a child would lend his father a hand during the summers, she said.

But it was his mother’s work — albeit temporary — that may have sparked Parente’s interest in aviation. During World War II, she assembled aircraft components at Republic Aviation Corporation in East Farmingdale, Peggy Parente said.

After graduating from Oyster Bay High School in 1951, Parente studied aircraft operations at Farmingdale State College, then known as Long Island Agricultural and Technical Institute. He later enlisted in the Navy to train as a pilot, but bouts of vertigo forced him instead to serve on the USS Tarawa, his wife said.

Parente then studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Maryland, where he graduated in 1961, his wife said. That year, he began working in Bethpage at what was then Grumman Aeronautical Engineering Company, where he would spend his entire career.

For 41 years, he worked in aeronautical acoustic engineering — a rarefied field in which Parente distinguished himself, said his longtime co-worker Noe Arcas, 76, of Plainview.

The pair’s efforts to reduce the noise and vibrations of engines benefited the Boeing 757, the Airbus A330 and other airliners, according to Parente’s resume. The duo even worked in the 1960s on NASA’s Apollo lunar module — “so that the astronauts could have a decent night’s sleep on the moon,” Arcas said.

After work, Parente “always had time for his kids,” said Naismith, 42, of Manhattan, who recalled her father’s tradition of reading to her every night before bed.

Parente is also survived by a sister, Florence Boffardi, 87, of East Norwich; daughter Meg Leary, 40, of East Norwich; son Charles Parente, 41, of Manhattan; and six grandchildren.

A funeral service was held July 8 at St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church in Oyster Bay. Burial followed at St. Patrick Cemetery in Huntington.

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