Jose Manuel Berenguel died Wednesday, February 14, 2018 in his home in Wethersfield, CT. Jose was born September 24, 1954, in Benahadux, Spain to Jose Berenguel and Antonia de Bernas, both of Benahadux. His father moved to Ansbach, West Germany as part of a worker-exchange program. By 1965, the rest of the family, including Jose had moved to Ansbach. He was educated in the public schools of West Germany and worked in the restaurant industry until reaching the age of 21. He returned to Spain to serve in the Spanish Army. He was stationed throughout Northern Africa as a soldier and eventually attained the rank of Corporal before being honorably discharged.
The year before joining the army, Jose worked as a waiter in Rothenburg, West Germany, where he met his future wife, Margaret Agnes Church of Meriden, CT. Jose married Margaret on August 27, 1977. Jose profited greatly from his West German culinary training and, after immigrating to Connecticut, served as a waiter at some of Hartford’s most iconic restaurants of Little Italy. These include Fiorello’s in Hartford from 1977-1980, at Carbone’s as head waiter 1981-1994, Sorrento’s 1996-2000 and Francesco’s 2009-2014. In addition, he worked for Tomaso’s of Rocky Hill from 2005-2008. He also provided private catering services throughout the state. Jose also spoke six languages, a skill he used throughout his career. He retired from the restaurant business in 2014 and has since been working for Alloy Specialties Inc. in Manchester, CT.
Jose is survived by his mother, Antonia de Bernas of Benahadux, Spain; a sister, Antonia de Bernas Hill of Pascoag, RI; two sons and their spouses, Joseph Curtis Berenguel and Julia Flagg Berenguel also of Portland, and Justin Allan Berenguel and Sarah Nicole Holland of Brattleboro, VT; five grandchildren, Amber Berenguel of Seattle, WA, Augusta Berenguel of Portland, CT and Blue, Nora and June Berenguel of Brattleboro, VT.
Jose was known throughout the state as the life of the party, most recently catering the Taft High School Class of 2017 graduation party. His infectious charm and flare for food will be missed by all.
Family and friends are invited to attend a funeral service to be held on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 12 p.m. at the John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home, 88 East Main St., Meriden, CT 06450. Burial will be private. Family and friends may call prior to service from 10:30 to 12 p.m. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations in Jose’s name be made to Asnuntuck Community College Foundation, 170 Elm Street, Enfield, CT 06082 or donations are accepted securely online at www.asnuntuck.edu/donate.