A. Ralph Bartolacci, a resident of Upper Nyack, N.Y., and Laurel, N.Y., passed away at his home in Laurel on Sept. 7, 2020, at the age of 86 after a valiant fight with prostate cancer and congestive heart failure.
Born on Feb. 12, 1934, in Phillipsburg, N.J., he was the son of August and Elvira Bartolacci. Ralph attended St. Philip and St. James School in Phillipsburg and Lafayette College (Class of 1955) in Easton, Pa., where he served in the ROTC. After earning a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Lehigh University, Ralph went to work for IBM as an engineer, and worked there in various roles for his entire career of 37 years.
Ralph was married to his wife, Valerie A. Wissler, for 55 years. Ralph and Valerie lived for 46 years in Upper Nyack, where Ralph served as a village trustee for 22 of those years. They also maintained a pied-à-terre in New York City, where they loved dining out, going to Broadway plays and visiting museums.
Ralph’s career with IBM took the family to France for four years and England for two. Their time in Europe sparked a lifelong love of traveling for Ralph and Valerie, and they visited over 50 countries together, including many with the whole family.
Early in his married life, Ralph gave up his weekend days on the golf course to embrace the more family-friendly pastime of motor boating. He took Valerie and their three children boating up and down the Hudson River. Later, after purchasing a summer home on the North Fork, the family enjoyed boating on the waters of the East End. Ralph and Valerie enjoyed taking their boat on trips to Block Island and Connecticut, and Ralph loved deep-sea fishing in the Atlantic Ocean with his two sons. Ever the devoted grandparents, Ralph and Valerie regularly took their grandchildren on fishing and tubing outings on Peconic Bay.
Ralph picked up skiing as an adult, and while never quite mastering the sport, he imparted his love of it to his children, starting all of them at a young age. They have only recently begun to appreciate his heroic achievement of taking three children under the age of 9 skiing, as they try to do so with their own.
Ralph was a true engineer, always embracing the challenge of figuring out how things worked. He could fix anything and everything, often with some epoxy and a soda can, and applied these expert skills to maintaining his boats, his homes and his children’s and grandchildren’s boats and homes. His workshops were brimming with tools for every task, including “building projects” with his grandchildren.
Ralph was predeceased by his wife, Valerie, in December 2019. He is survived by his sister, Philomena Azzalina of Easton, Pa.; his three children, Susan Bartolacci Dahiya (Sandeep), Peter Bartolacci (Suzanne) and Gary Bartolacci (Heidi); his eight grandchildren: Asha, Pria and Julian Dahiya; Anna and Brendan Bartolacci; and Abigail, Eliza and Matthew Bartolacci; and his devoted cockapoo, Maggie.
The family received family and friends Sept. 10 at Coffey Funeral Home in Tarrytown, N.Y. A funeral Mass took place Sept. 11 at Church of the Transfiguration in Tarrytown. An interment ceremony followed at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Cutchogue, Long Island.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Ralph’s name to the Courtney Anne Diacont Memorial Foundation (648 Bok Road, Nazareth, PA 18064) or to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (Office of Development, P.O. Box 27106, New York, NY 10087).
This is a paid notice.