Ralph A. CeloneApril 11, 1925 ~ October 10, 2017 (age 92)
Ralph A. Celone, age 92, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 10, 2017, at St. Elizabeth’s Manor, his home for the past 17 years. Ralph was born on April 11, 1925 in Bristol, the son of the late Paul Celone and Mary (Lanzire) Celone. He was a lifelong resident of Bristol.
Ralph was a 1944 graduate of Colt Memorial High School, where he excelled in sports and received nine varsity letters in three years.
An article by Manny Correira in the June 2003 Bristol Phoenix stated, “Athletically, Celone is one of the great names in Bristol sports history.
A member of several championship teams at Colt Memorial High School during the early to mid-1940’s he excelled in baseball, basketball and football. He is an inductee of the Bristol Athletic Hall of Fame”, an honor that Ralph was very proud of. Ralph was quite humble and claimed he was not a star, but was surrounded by outstanding talent who helped him to succeed.
Ralph received a football scholarship to The College of the Holy Cross and became a member of the Crusaders as a fullback and linebacker. He was honored to have participated in the Twelfth Annual Orange Bowl Classic in Miami Florida on January 1, 1946~Holy Cross vs. University of Miami. He went on to graduate Holy Cross in 1949, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Education, with a major in History. He also received his Masters of Arts Degree in History from Boston University.
After graduation, Ralph taught from 1950 to 1982 in the Bristol Public School System, where he worked his entire career as an english and history teacher. Ralph once received a letter from Senator Lincoln D. Chafee who’d read an article about Ralph in the Providence Journal, and said he had to write because of how the article impressed him. He stated, “Once in a while there comes along a teacher who was not only born to the job, but also manages to make an indelible impression on the lives of countless young people. Judging from what I’ve read, you are that teacher.” Ralph’s unconventional teaching style made history fun for many students. Many former students visited and stayed in contact with him after he retired, but Ralph was most grateful for the dedicated friendship of his former students, Nick Conti and his wife Rose Ann (Cirillo), who never failed to visit him regularly after he retired and during his stay at St. Elizabeth’s Manor.
Before two major strokes confined him to a wheelchair, Ralph would spend many hours at Colt State Park, walking his pet pit bull “Pete”, practicing Tai Chi and just enjoying life. He enjoyed a variety of music from Enrico Caruso and Frank Sinatra, which connected him to his Italian roots, to Neil Young. He had a wonderful sense of humor. Ralph was a man of deep faith who prayed daily and wrote poetry about his beliefs, those he cared about, and who cared for him at St. Elizabeth’s.
Ralph leaves his dedicated and loving brother, James Celone and his wife Leonora of Adelaide Avenue. He will be missed by his many nieces and nephews: John W. Sullivan and his wife Christine of Braintree, MA and their son John of Telluride CO; Ann Teixeira and her husband Armand of Cumberland; Sam Celone of Bristol; Michael Celone and wife Donna of Bristol; Peter Celone and wife Tina of Tiverton; Leann Nunes & husband Alan of Bristol; Nancy Jacques and husband, Frank of N. Smithfield; Peter Gancz of Tucson AZ; Stephen Gancz of Bristol; Jean Motta & husband Robert of Bristol; Paul Celone of Cranston; and his first cousins, Genevieve “Cousin Genny” Marszalek of North Farm in Bristol, Sylvia Hall and Patricia Fojo of Florida and Douglas Lanzire of Bristol. Ralph was preceded in death by his sisters, Marie (Celone) Sullivan and Josephine (Celone) Gancz and brothers Louis “Gene” Celone and Samuel Celone.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Graveside Service in celebration of his life on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 10:30 AM in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Chestnut Street, Bristol. Visiting hours are respectfully omitted. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 141 State Street, or to the Bristol Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 775, both Bristol, RI 02809. For online condolences, shared memories, information and directions go to www.sansonefuneralhome.com
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
141 State Street, Bristol RI 02809
Bristol Rescue Squad
P.O. Box 775, Bristol RI 02809