OBITUARY

Ralph Peter Grieco

May 21, 1942August 28, 2019
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Ralph Peter Grieco age 77 went home to be with his Savior and Heavenly Father on Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 in Roswell, GA.

Ralph was born in Queens, New York on May 21, 1942 to Ralph and Eleanor Grieco. When Ralph was 45 he learned of his biological father Bill Hanka, who he eventually met and formed an endearing relationship with.

Independent and determined from the beginning he stayed in Florida by himself so he could attend Miami Beach High School where he first learned how to play tennis, a game that would change the trajectory of his life. He would eventually earn a scholarship at Rollins College where he studied physics, earned an MBA and met his first wife of 15 years Marta Jones, also the mother of his two children. He finished his education studying engineering at Columbia University. He began his career in Boca Raton at Southern Bell later called BellSouth where for the next 38 years he was a leader and mentor to many. Most importantly he built many lifetime friendships that he continued to nurture long after he retired. He also met his wife of 22 years Kristy Grieco at BellSouth and if you knew them during those years you may have been lucky enough to catch them burning up the dance floor swing dancing to the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. He was a man of many interests and when he found a new one he would always try to master it and usually did.

While he retired from BellSouth not long after moving to Roswell, Georgia, he would never retire from tennis and continued to hone his craft excelling to the top of the rankings in the ALTA tennis league. He is currently ranked 11th in the country for his age group. He also loved his golf game and played regularly until the very last day he was able to walk this earth. He often mentioned how he cherished the conversation and fellowship that golf brought with it. Another of Ralph’s many talents was photography. If you knew him even for a day he most likely has a photo of you somewhere. The second half of life also brought with it cats. Kristy and Ralph are the proud parents of 8 cats and many others they have fostered and cared for along the way through Kristy’s cat rescue organization. One of the most relevant additions to his life in later years was beginning his faith journey through Bible Study Fellowship classes. It brought him so much joy to learn about Christ and share a faith that impacted him so deeply. He genuinely loved meeting new people and never hesitating to lend a hand if there was a need. He loved his family as well as creating traditions that brought them together. Our famous Marco Island week will never feel the same without him.

Survivors include his wife Kristy Grieco, his children Bob Grieco (Andrea) and Lisa Grieco Sandusky (Sam), sisters Karen Groth and Linda Freisitzer (Norbert), brother Rick Grieco (Susan), Craig Hanka (Santha), Bruce Hanka, and eight grandchildren Marti, Danny, Carlina, Alessa, Kendal, Jennifer, Luis and Antonio.

In Lieu of flowers donations can be made to:

Atlanta Step Up Society a 501 (c)(3) which assists homeless veterans with recovery needs. He was involved here for many years and a cause he was honored to support. Atlanta Step Up Society https://www.atlantastepupsociety.org/donations1/donations

And another organization that Ralph believed in was Kristy’s cat rescue All About Cats a 501 (c) (3). All About Cats Rescue www.allaboutcatsrescue.org www.paypal.me/AllAboutCats

Services

  • Memorial Gathering Saturday, September 28, 2019

Memories

Ralph Peter Grieco

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J. Billie Ray

October 30, 2019

Working at BellSouth, Ralph and I played tennis whenever occasions permitted. One day he was in Birmingham spending the night at my house, and we played tennis at Mountainbrook tennis club that evening. Dinner was waiting but we played five sets late into the night. I won some games, but never a set. Ralph was always a gracious winner, complimented my game, and I guess I was a gracious loser. We had a fine dinner. Ralph, RIP. A life well lived.

John Meyer

October 2, 2019

I knew Ralph longer than anyone except our high school friends, over 60 years. He had not changed from his youth, always independent, joyous, fun, caring and smart. He was always athletic even to the final days and ranked in the national senior tennis circuit. Ralph was the embodiment of Christ and someone to always admire. He will be missed by all of us who knew him.

Silvia Lom-Ajan

September 30, 2019

My Favorite Boss @BellSouth....Ralph was a man of true character, morals and devout to his beliefs. I was Ralph's secretary in Miami from August 1980 through April 1984 and in Ft. Lauderdale from April 1986 through June 1988. For over 40 years plus, Ralph remained my dearest friend. He loved Kristy and his family very much and often spoke about them to me with pride and joy. At least once yearly, he made it a point to reach out to see how I was doing or to meet-up, while on his way to his yearly family vacation in the west coast of Florida. Ralph was always there to lend an ear during my mother's struggles with Alzheimer's and thru her passing in February 2018. Ralph and I shared many wonderful memories and countless laughs. I was so glad I had a chance to attend his celebration of life this past Saturday. His spirit was certain present, while many who attended shared stories, good memories and good times. I will miss my friend dearly... I will never forget you... May he rest in God's arms eternally.

Bill Hightower

September 30, 2019

Ralph was a great man, he led so many people to grow and learn. I was proud to call him leader, boss and friend. He will be missed by so many but the memories of Ralph will live forever in all of his family and his friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kristy, and the entire family. May God continue to bless all those lives Ralph impacted.

Ron Keiger

September 29, 2019

And it was Tennis that introduced the friendship of Ralph to me. Everyone knew Ralph for his excellent photos of our Tennis tournaments and the slide show he so ably put on the big screen from Naples to St. Pete, up to Huntsville, down to Bocage, over to Seabrook and Kiawah, back up to Ashevile and over to Nashvile and on to Va. Beach. And, his expertise extended to the court as well. I only met Ralph on the court twice and he was a fierce competitor. All day yesterday I could only reflect on the many tournaments we had participated in at the same time and always that wonderful friendly face greeting everyone, for everyone knew Ralph. Thank you for all the memories Ralph and I know you're in good hands as you lived it.

Barney Gradman

September 24, 2019

Ralph was one of the nicest and friendliest people I have met in all my years of tennis.

Bob Royden

September 18, 2019

Ralph and I were tennis buddies for many years but also roommates in Naples for 3 weeks a few years ago . We sure will miss him at all the tournaments .Just about the best liked guy I ever knew . All my condolences to his family .

Karen Coltun

September 12, 2019

I met Ralph at tje Long oat Key Senior Tournament Iin 2016. His amazing photography was a highlight of the tournament which I was working in.
I also took some photos of him playing since he was photographing when he was off the court.
I enjoyed knowing Ralph and he had a zest for life and amazing energy.
I just found out a month later that he passed.
I'm so sorry amd wish his family healing.

Dotty Salski

September 10, 2019

We met Ralph at our Super Senior Tournaments at
the Sanchez Casel Club. He played tennis in the tournament and also was the photographer for our great event. I volunteered for
years to run this tournament with several other great tennis players. Ralph was very outgoing and a very nice person. He
captured many great moments of people on the tennis courts and the dinner dance afterwards. We really appreciated everything he did. I will also cherish the cross he gave me as a symbol of our faith. May he rest in peace and our deepest sympathy to the family from all tennis players in Naples, FL.

charlie burns

September 10, 2019

I knew Ralph thru Southern Tennis . He was one of the best on the courts but also, very special off the courts. What a guy he was...….. He was one of those special people that when you "ran into him" you felt better when you departed from him. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. I am so sorry for his family. My very best to them.

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