OBITUARY

Ralph Vitale

January 21, 1953March 18, 2013

Ralph Vitale, 60, passed away March 18, 2013 at the Rhode Island Hospital. Born in Providence, he was the son of the late Ralph and Olga (Ruzzio) Vitale; stepson of the late Evelina (Lambert) Vitale; husband of Angela (Day) Vitale; brother of Robert Vitale, Richard DeBeaulieu Jr., Thomas and Philip DeBeaulieu, Grace Medeiros, Nannette Corcoran, Sue Luszcz, Caroline Vitale and the late Donna DeBeaulieu. He also leaves several nieces and nephews. Ralph worked for RIPTA before retiring and had served in the U.S. Air Force. Visitation will be held Thursday, 4-7 p.m. with a funeral on Friday at 10 a.m. from the PONTARELLI-MARINO Home, 971 Branch Avenue, Providence. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. in St. Anthony Church, 1413 Mineral Spring Avenue, North Providence, followed by burial with Military Honors in St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 13067, Alexandria, VA 22312-9067.

Services

  • Visitation Thursday, March 21, 2013
  • Funeral Service Friday, March 22, 2013
REMEMBERING

Ralph Vitale

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY

receive updates when new memories are posted

RECEIVE UPDATES
Alfred Bradley

October 22, 2016

Ralphie and I go back 47 years in Providence. I loved Ralph like a brother. I just happened to look up his name on google and found out he passed. My heart is broken. I've missed him for all those years when he went off to another state. We lost touch, but he was always in my thoughts. My sincere condolences to his family. Al Bradley

Angela Vitale

December 23, 2013

I would like to thank the Pontarelli - Marino Funeral home for the beautiful Woodland Memorial books of Ralph's life which you had prepared for us. Thank You!

Kerri Luszcz

October 3, 2013

I know it's been a while but it was nice to see this tonight. I'm Sue's daughter and I have been living out west for the last 9 years so I apologize for being somewhat out-of-the-loop. I always loved Ralphie. So charismatic. Beautiful soul. We are truly blessed that we have such an amazing angel watching over our family.

Angela Vitale

September 18, 2013

This candle is for all those mentioned in this guest book and for all others who deserve a mention.
Whatever is lovely, whatever is pure, whatever is honest, whatever is just, whatever is fair, whatever is honorable, whatever is worthy of praise, think on these things.
So thankful for you.

Angela Vitale

September 18, 2013

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who attended Ralph's Wake and Funeral.
Thank you all who sent messages of sympathy.
Thank you all who sent flowers.
Thank you Antonio's restaurant and staff.
Thank you Rev. Mark and the Unification Church for the Seonghwa (Memorial) Ceremony.
Thank you to the Priests at St. Anthony's Church.
Thank you to the organist at St. Anthony's Church.
Thank you to the Staff at Pontarelli-Marino Funeral home. Everyone was impressed by your professionalism.
Last, but certainly not least, thank you to each member of Ralph's large family. May God bless you at this difficult time. You have lost a brother, an uncle, a cousin and a nephew.

September 18, 2013

A few days after the funeral the Department of Veteran's Affairs at the Rhode Island State Capital presented Ralph with recognition of his Military Service on behalf of the State of Rhode Island. I would like to thank the State for that. Thank you!

I recently received a Presidential Memorial Certificate signed by the President of The United States, Barak Obama, honoring Ralph.
It reads:

The United States of America
honors the memory of
Ralph Vitale
This certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Signed:

Barak Obama

President of the United States

The Presidential seal in gold is at the top of the certificate.

I would like to thank the President for the Memorial Certificate.
Thank you, Mr President.

Thank you America for your expression of gratitude.

Angela Vitale

September 18, 2013

The collation, meal and gathering with family and friends after the funeral, was held at Antonio's restaurant in Cranston, Rhode Island. The menu was excellent. I choose Chicken Marsala as did my nephew, Nyle, who traveled here from New York with his father, Jerry. I mention this because on Mother's Day 1993 I traveled to New York to attend the Baptism of Nyle and his sister Isis, my niece. After the Baptism we had a meal at an Italian restaurant near the Church. Chicken Marsala was on the the menu. I love to cook and I knew Chicken Marsala is Haute Cuisine. I also knew it is made with Marsala wine. Ralph was very strict about us not drinking alchohol at that time, he didn't even want me eating a meal which was cooked with alchohol. I told him it evaporates, but he still said "no". Even though he wasn't present at the meal I decided to respect his wishes. Well, in later years he relented a little and we had a drink occasionally, very rarely. However I always seemed to pass up Chicken Marsala until the day of his funeral when I and my nephew Nyle, who was Baptised on that day almost twenty years ago, independently choose it sitting at different tables at the collation. Nice of Ralph to let us have that special dish on the day of his funeral.
May you rest in peace, Ralph, and may you enjoy whatever you need where you are now.

A Mass for the repose of Ralph's soul was held at 7:30am at the Chapel next to the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Providence on Thursday, May 16th. Thank you all who attended. Thank you, Bishop Tobin, for allowing the Mass. Thank you Monsignor and thank you to the priest who said the Mass.

Angela Vitale

September 17, 2013

Ralph received Military Honors at St. Ann's cemetery in Cranston, Rhode Island.
The cortege was greeted by two women and one man from the US Air Force. The American flag was placed on the coffin before it was brought into the reception area for the final part of the funeral service. After family members and friends had greeted the coffin and the priest prayed, the soldiers played Taps and fired three shots. Then two soldiers walked into the reception area, removed the flag from the coffin and ceremonially folded it. One of the soldiers presented the flag and the three bullets to me, Angela, thanking Ralph, on behalf of the President, for his service to America. The two soldiers then ceremonially exited the reception area and joined the third soldier facing the coffin. After that, family and friends placed yellow carnations on the coffin signifying keeping compassion high.
Many people commented on how beautiful the Military Honors were and how moved they were by the ceremony. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the three soldiers, and others who were involved, the United States Air Force and the United States Military for honoring Ralph. Thank you!

Angela Vitale

September 17, 2013

Testimony of Ralph's life continued:

Ralph went to Burundi, Africa, for 40 days missionary work in late 1991. His assigned mission city was Ngosi in the Northern part of the country. He spoke of traveling there from Bujumbura, the Capital, by bus. Wherever the bus stopped enterprising women would get on the the bus offering live chickens for sale.
When he got to his destination he took residence in a hotel there. Burundi was once a Belgian colony so the children speak some French. Some also learn a little English; they speak Swahili, the main African language and they speak Curundi, the National language. They used to refer to Ralph as "the white person" in Curundi. He spoke of the women wearing their beautiful African costumes going to church on Sundays. He had many conversations with a Belgian priest whom he met in Ngosi. He met one person there whom he thought of as an angel because he showed up just when Ralph needed help. When he returned to America he prayed often for this "angel", for the priest and for many others he met there. A lady made a map of Burundi for him in cross stitch with the town of Ngosi marked with the colors of the National flag. We still have that gift.
It was obvious Ralph loved being there. He was planning to go back the following year and the year after that but life got in the way. We returned to Rhode Island and he could not see his way to go back. He felt bad about that. I told him it was obvious he had a beautiful heart towards Burundi and I thought it would be good to continue with that mind and also have that mind towards America and especially towards his home state, Rhode Island, to which we had just returned. He decided to do that and I decided to do it with him.

Angela Vitale

September 16, 2013

Testimony of Ralph's life continued:

Ralph and I visited Ministers and Priests to America as part of our own ministry. When we both went to Ireland I showed him where the priest lives in my hometown. He said "let's visit him". I said "no, people here don't visit the priest". He said "why not? We've been visiting priests and ministers in America we can't bypass the priest here". With great trepidation, knowing how my family and everyone in the local area view those who "hobnob" with priests, I followed Ralph up to the priest's house thinking to myself that I would let Ralph do the talking.
The priest greeted us warmly and invited us in. It so happens he had been in America and when he heard Ralph was Italian he told us he had celebrated Mass in a church here which has a large Italian membership. During the sermon he told them about St. Brendan, the Patron Saint of my home state, who traveled to America by boat with his fellow monks in the sixth century, nine hundred years before Columbus set sail. The priest and Ralph had a good laugh when he talked about greeting the parishinors after mass and the Italians complaining "they're taking everything from us. They even take Columbus from us"
We were served with lots of tea and mikado biscuits (cookies), my favorite from my childhood. They became Ralph's favorite too. The priest thanked us for visiting and said he wished more people would visit him when they returned home on vacation.

One beautiful summer day Ralph and I were walking back to Mass in Ireland. A bird was hopping in front of us. Ralph said "I think that bird wants you to know something." I thought "what on earth would a bird have to say to me? Is God trying to tell me something and the only way he can get me to listen is by having a bird hop in front of me" I was reminded of this the day before Ralph's funeral when I saw the birds at the birdfeeder as I was pulling in the driveway. I thank God and I thank Ralph for reminding me of it and I pray that I listen to whatever I am to hear and I do whatever I am to do.