In memory of
Ralph Pisanelli - The man, the myth, the legend.
Ralph Pisanelli of Avon, previously of Sheffield Lake, passed away peacefully on August 12th at the age of 87 in the caring and compassionate community of Avon Oaks. He was born in Wadsworth, Ohio on August 31, 1931 to Nicholas and Mary Pisanelli, whom he adored. Ralph is survived by his wife of 61 years, Mary Lou (nee McEntee) who lovingly cared for him, especially as he lived with Alzheimer's Disease, and their 8 children; Chris (Dawn), Mike (Lori), Patrick (Christine), Mary Marin, Laura Dillon, Ann Csongei (Dave), Amy Eldridge (Paul), and Jonathan (Rachael). He is "Papa" to 17 Grandchildren, and 3 Great-Grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Julius (Pat), brother-in-law Jerry McEntee, sisters-in-law Betty Gairing and Sue Pisanelli; and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, 4 of his 5 siblings; Katie Goda, Pat Ulichney, Rita Kaminski, and Mario Pisanelli, his brothers-in-law, Walter Gairing and Richard McEntee, and his son-in-law, Richard Dillon.
He was a member of the Wadsworth H.S. class of 1950 where he was a stand-out on the football field (eventually being inducted into the Wadsworth Sports Hall of Fame). He then achieved great success playing for the University of Cincinnati (Class of '54) where he was also a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. After college he joined the Army and was stationed in Fort Bliss, TX where he earned the rank of 1st Lieutenant of the 168th Guided Missile Battalion.
Moving to Lorain in 1958, Mr. Pisanelli became a revered teacher, coach, and mentor to countless students at Clearview H.S. (1958-60) and Lorain Admiral King (1960-84). His impact on the students throughout the years has been measured by the many people who, upon meeting one of his children or grandchildren, credit Mr. Pisanelli for changing their lives forever. As an Assistant Principal at Lorain Admiral King, he was respected as being firm but always fair, helping many students find their path.
Never one to sit still, Ralph retired in 1984 for about 5 minutes, then went to work for Kopf Construction as a finish carpenter using the skills that he honed throughout years of summer construction work. A masterful craftsman and woodworker, he loved to share his gift with his family and friends, creating furniture, helping with home improvements, and building entire homes. He had an unbelievable work ethic that he passed on to his children and grandchildren. His hands were worn from years of work. When Ralph was helping you, he was always teaching you.
Ralph was a member of the Lorain Senior Fellowship Club as well as the Lorain County Woodcarvers Club, a hobby he began in his later years, but thoroughly enjoyed. He loved meeting new friends and truly loved the fellowship he found among these groups. Ralph was a masterful storyteller and very often had a crowd of grandchildren at his feet as he sat and told his tales. He is "grandpa" to several kids who are of no relation but are undoubtedly part of the family. He welcomed everyone into his home and the more he liked you, the more he teased you.
His happy place was 10 acres on the Mohican River. Spending many years camping there since the 1960's, and eventually building a cabin that became a family retreat. He enjoyed weekends at the cabin, planting and tending trees and gardens, telling stories around the campfire, relaxing with a book, but above all else, spending time with family. Time with family is what he treasured above all else.
It's impossible to quantify a life well-lived. The measure of one's success is perhaps simply determined by the impact he has on the lives of others. Ralph was revered by everyone who knew him. We need more Ralph Pisanelli's in this world.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be forwarded in Ralph's name to the Alzheimer's Association, 23215 Commerce Park, Ste 300, Beachwood, OH 44122.
Those whose lives he has touched are encouraged to call at the Busch Funeral Home, 163 Avon Belden Rd., Avon Lake, from 5-9 pm on Thursday, August 15th. Funeral on Friday, August 16th beginning with prayers at the Funeral Home at 9:15am, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at Holy Trinity Church, 33601 Detroit Rd., Avon. Interment at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Avon.
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