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The Life of Ralph Iagulli

RALPH IAGULLI AUSTINTOWN – The earthly journey of Ralph Iagulli, 91, was completed on May 19, 2011. He was the youngest of six children of Italian immigrants Luigi and Celestina Iagulli of Montaguat, Italy. His siblings included Donald, Emanuel, Rose Bartholomew, Vera Bruno and Mark Iagulli. Because his mother died when he was an infant, he was lovingly raised by his two sisters for whom he was forever grateful. He spent his childhood years in Briar Hill and moved to Austintown when he was 13. He was a 1939 graduate of Austintown Fitch. Better known as “Ike,” he was a standout athlete in basketball, track, and football. He wore No. 44 in football with the proud accomplishments of playing beside his brother, Mark, on the offensive line for three years. In 1938, he was a member of the first championship football team Fitch ever produced. He was a charter member of the Fitch High School Touchdown Club and he continued to be a faithful Falcon follower in many sports until 2005. He proudly served his country in World War II as a Staff Sergeant in the Army. His four years involvement of the liberation of the Philippines served as a strong base for his love of his fellow servicemen and country. His patriotism was often evident in his red, white, and blue attire and the two American flags he proudly flew at his home. The playing of the Star Spangled Banner brought tears to his eyes with both sadness and pride. One of his proudest moments is when he was granted the unique honor and privilege to raise the American Flag on the USS Arizona on Feb. 1, 2000. Upon returning from the Army, he worked for Youngstown Welding and Engineering and Cosmopolitan Housing. Soon after, while roller-skating, he met his “one in a million,” Margie Chepke. They have celebrated 64 years of marriage. Their marriage also provided Ralph with 64 years of loving memories from the Chepke and Batta family relatives. They lovingly raised their four children, Tom (Sue) of Myrtle Beach, S.C., Pat of Colorado Springs, Colo., Bill, whom they made their home with and Margie Bea. At age 86, Ralph suffered a stroke and fought hard to successfully regain his physical strength. Soon after his 88th birthday, Alzheimer’s began to control his mind and although some days were challenging, his family continued to keep him safe and remind him how much he was loved. His son, Bill, was a devoted, loyal and loving caregiver for the final last six years of his life. The love he had for his children was obvious in both their academics and athletics. He worked hard to give them the education he was unable to have and supported their athletic endeavors at every level. He volunteered as a Little League umpire, was a charter board member and coach of the Austintown Girls Softball League. The girls he coached always remained close to his heart. He was a loyal member of the Austintown Optimist Club and VFW Post 737. He loved vacationing in Hawaii and accomplished the goal of taking all of his children and grandchildren to experience live Aloha style! His grandchildren were a large part of his loving circle and he cherished the moments he shared with them. They include Jay (Jennie), Jill, Jeff (Barbie) Iagulli and Lauren Handwork. His circle of love expanded with the beautiful gift of great-grandchildren Paige, Aiden, Macie J., Preston J. and Taylor Iagulli. Special family friends include John Baechly, Cathy Tinucci and Elaine Jacobs. Calling hours will be held Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Lane Funeral Home, Austintown Chapel. Pastor George Dunbar will celebrate Ralph’s life at a funeral service which will be Monday at 11 a.m. at the Lane Funeral Home. Internment will follow at Greenhaven Cemetery with military honors. The Iagulli family would like to express their true appreciation for the amazing care provided for Ralph by Dr. David Rich and his staff and also everyone at St. Mary’s Alzheimer’s Center who treated Papa like he was one of their own. The family kindly request remembrances in the form of donations to St. Mary’s Alzheimer’s Activity Department, 1899 W. Garfield Road, Columbiana, OH 44408, c/o Karen Stephan per Ralph Iagulli in the memo. He was a member and former elder of the Rockview Christian Church (formerly The American Hungarian Reformed Church). He was a man full of love for his family, country, and God. He expressed hope that his journey beyond would include a loving and welcoming hug from his mom, a hug he has never felt. May he rest in peace, knowing his love will continue on with all those he met. “God be with you ‘til we meet again, Pops!”

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