Ralph John Astrella
July 9, 1929 – April 1, 2021
Ralph J. Astrella, beloved husband, father, and grandfather passed away peacefully on April 1, 2021 in Colorado Springs. He was born on July 9, 1929 in Philadelphia PA. He was the oldest of two children born to Ralph and Frances Astrella.
Ralph spent his early life growing up in South Philadelphia. Ralph spent summers working on his grandfather’s farm in Bristol Pennsylvania. He worked as a grocery store clerk while going to high school and graduated first in his 1946 high school class. He received a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania where he obtained a degree in Electrical Engineering.
In 1950, he joined the United States Air Force to serve in the Korean War. He completed basic training and flight school as the war ended. Ralph went on to serve 32 years in the Air Force where he served many roles including navigator and pilot, operations commander, security officer and Security Forces Commander. He flew many different types of aircraft throughout his career and logged nearly 9000 flight hours. He served his country for nine years during the Vietnam conflict. He retired from the Air Force in 1982 after rising to the rank of Colonel.
After retiring from the Air Force, he started a second career as a satellite logistics engineer and worked for AeroJet in Colorado Springs. He worked on satellites and taught others to use the computers that ran surveillance satellites. During his second career he traveled all over the world before retiring in 1995 in Colorado Springs.
Ralph’s happiest times were spent being a father, grandfather, and friend to many. He loved spending time fishing for trout, travelling, playing with his grandchildren, and communicating with friends and relatives far and wide on his computer. He had an uncanny abilty to remember a myriad of bad jokes that caused all to groan and laugh! His grandchildren all remember him as the retired version of Superman or Santa’s helper Rudolpho at Christmas. During his later years when his mobility was limited, he would spend hours talking on the phone or emailing friends and family and keeping everyone up to date. He was a true giver, and we will all miss him.
Ralph leaves behind to cherish his memory, loving wife Delores Silverstein Astrella, son Mark (Jenny) Astrella of Bristol RI, stepchildren Mark (Karen), Todd, and Joan of Colorado Springs, David (Mary) of Kansas City, MO, Mike (Nela) of Denver, CO, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Robert, former spouse Geraldine Astrella, and daughter Lynn Astrella.
A visitation will be held Tuesday, April 13, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a rosary conducted at 6:00 p.m. at Swan Law Funeral Directors. Funeral Services will held Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church with a private committal service at Pikes Peak National Cemetery.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Ralph John Astrella
April 9, 2021
My sincere condolences to Delores, Joan and Family. May Ralph’s memories be cherished. Heaven has gained another Angel.
April 7, 2021
The Buckley AFB military Retiree Activities Office (RAO) would like to offer our sincere condolences and our gratitude for Col Astrella's 32 years of distinguished service to our country in the Air Force. If you would like help with any matters related to casualty assistance, Defense Finance & Accounting Service, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), Veterans Affairs (VA), etc. you can contact our office on Buckley AFB at 720-847-6693. The RAO is staffed by volunteers, all military retirees themselves, and our sole purpose is to provide assistance to any military retirees and surviving spouses/family members with anything related to their military service and/or benefits, in particular during difficult times such as this. We are deeply sorry for your loss.
Lt Col, USAF, Ret
Director, Buckley AFB RAO
Susan Basse Heim
April 2, 2021
My prayers and condolences go out to Delores, Joanie, and family. Ralph was a dear friend of my parents; Sue and Werner Heim. If you need anything at this very difficult time please reach out. Mom and I are here for you.