Ralph Pisanelli - The man, the myth, the legend.
Ralph Pisanelli of Avon, Ohio, previously of Sheffield Lake, Ohio, 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, esp.
as he lived with Alzheimer's Disease, and
their 8 childrenf: 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.
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-inlaw,
Ralph 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 a
lso 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
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
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
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.
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.