PRETE, Ralph May 14, 1923 - January 7, 2017 Ralph Prete of Sonoma passed peacefully at 93 years old after a short illness, with his loving wife of 64 years, Gladys at his side on Saturday night January 7, 2017, at Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa. Born Raffaele Prete on May 14, 1923 in East Harlem, NY to immigrant parents from the Campania (Naples) region of Italy, Ralph graduated from high school in the Bronx. He enlisted in the US Navy at 18 years of age just after the Pearl Harbor attack, and served until 1946 with the original Navy Seabees, Pacific Theater during World War II. After the war, he joined, and retired from New York City Police Department, Mounted Troop A (Manhattan), as a second generation NYPD Mounted officer, wearing the same badge as his father. Though he performed duty across Manhattan, his regular beat for most of that career was Times Square and the Theater District. He was also on horseback for many Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades. He met his wife to be at a dance in Manhattan, discovering that she lived only a block away from his family's home in the Bronx. They raised their family in Queens and Setauket, Long Island. He continued a career in police and public safety for 15 more years after retirement with several agencies in both Long Island and upstate New York. Ralph was an accomplished dancer, an expert horseman and marksman, and held a Pistol Master's title. He was a great husband, father and grandfather, respected and well liked by all who knew him. He and Gladys enjoyed 20 years in upstate New York on 100 acres they had purchased, in what became deep snow country every winter. He and Gladys retired again to the New Orleans area for over 10 years before Hurricane Katrina forced relocation to Sonoma in 2005. He and Gladys have lived close to the Plaza during that time and have loved being in Sonoma near family, as they did in New Orleans. Preceded in death by brothers Albert and John, sisters Lee, Eleanor, and Mary, and first granddaughter Rachael, he is survived by wife Gladys, sister Dorothy (NY), sons Christopher (Sonoma), Ralph (Alix) Mandeville, Louisiana, and David (Sonoma), grandchildren Kyle (Kaitlyn) Seattle, Elise (Kevin) Charlotte, NC, two great-grandchildren and 17 nieces and nephews. A private family commemoration of life will be held in the spring and interment of ashes will be at Sonoma Valley Veteran's Cemetery.
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