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Ralph Ruffolo - Class Of 1946

Ralph J. Ruffolo, Sr., 90, of Kenosha, passed away from a life well lived Tuesday, September 4, 2018. Ralph is survived by his wife, Shirley (Kollmann), of 71 years and 100 family members.

He was born on November 11, 1927, the fifth of seven siblings of Louis and Bertha (Bedore) Ruffolo in Kenosha.  He attended Kenosha schools and left high school to join the Air Force during World War II.  In high school he met the love of his life, Shirley Kollmann.  They married in February 1947 and began a family that grew to eight children.

Their eight children gave them 25 grandchildren and those grandchildren gave them 40 great-grandchildren.  There are now 65 direct descendants and with spouses this creates a family of 102, including the two children expected next February.  More than anything Ralph enjoyed the large, loving family he and Shirley created together.  Ralph and Shirley believed the way to build a strong loving family was to be present in their lives.

When Ralph returned from World War II he worked alongside his brother, Louis, at Triangle Appliance until 1995.  He finished his career at Star Furniture years later.  Ralph’s expertise in sales earned him the privilege to travel to many foreign ports with Shirley.  For 54 years, Ralph was very active in the Kiwanis Club of Western Kenosha, a past president, Man of the Year and a founder of CohoRama.  He served as a Chairman of the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce, the Kenosha Expo and was active with the Retail Council for many years.  He also served as Chairman of the Kenosha Crime Stoppers, Kenosha Achievement Center Golf Outing, Kenosha Band Boosters and a board member of Kenosha Area Tourism.  He was a volunteer with Meals on Wheels and St. Elizabeth Church.  He was an avid fisherman and loved to golf.  As a tribute to his father, who taught him at a very young age how to plant and care for a garden, he continued to maintain his lawn, flowers, and garden with pride until the end. 

Ralph is survived by his wife, Shirley, his children, Betty (Larry) Misner of Fort Wayne, IN, Barb (Mike) Grotheim of Rotunda, FL, Ralph Jr. (Mary) of Kenosha, Jim (Lisa) of Manitowoc, WI, Judy (Bob) Busche of Kenosha, Sherri (Duane) Stipek of Kenosha, Peggy (Andy) Burke of Kenosha and Gina (Keith) Hotchkiss of Kenosha.  He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings:  Louis Ruffolo, Marjorie Roth, Virginia Hunter, Merle Stielow, Frank Ruffolo and Joanne West.

A greeting time with the family will be held on Friday, September 7th, at Proko Funeral Home from 5:00PM until 7:00PM and will continue on Saturday, September 8th, at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church from 9:00AM until the time of the mass at 11:00AM.  A private burial will be held at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Ralph’s name to:  The Shalom Center of Interfaith Network, The United Way of Kenosha for the Building Our Future program or St. Elizabeth Catholic Church.

Visit & Sign Ralph’s Online Memorial Book at: