May 19, 1939 – April 17, 2023.
With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Ralph S. Ruggiero, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, mentor, and friend. Ralph passed away on April 17, 2023, at the age of 83, surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Bethpage, NY, to Angelina Caruso and Dominik Ruggiero on May 19, 1939.
Ralph was known for his big heart, infectious smile, and signature “Ralph bear hug” that will be deeply missed by all who knew him. His kindness, generosity, and compassion touched the lives of people around the world. Ralph’s legacy as a dedicated teacher, administrator, and mentor will never be forgotten.
Ralph graduated from the first class of Bethpage High School in 1957. He attended Murray State University in Kentucky, where he was recognized as a scholar-athlete and named an All-American football player. After receiving his B.S. Degree, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Marine Corps and served on active duty from 1961 to 1965 before entering the Active Reserves, retiring in 1982.
Ralph began his career as an educator in the Brentwood School District in September 1966. He earned an M.A. Degree from Adelphi University in 1968 and a Professional Degree from Hofstra University in 1972. He went on to begin his administrative career in 1972, and in 1993, he was instrumental in bringing the J.A.F.R.O.T.C. program to Brentwood High School. Ralph had a tremendous impact on the students he served, authoring the United Brentwood Scholarship Fund and raising tens of thousands of dollars for student scholarships. Under his leadership, Brentwood High School was named “Newsday” High School of the Year in 1989.
Ralph’s leadership skills were exceptional, and he was instrumental in organizing and working with hundreds of BHS students who volunteered their time to improve the Brentwood community. He also organized and developed a high school leadership conference that brought hundreds of high school student leaders from throughout Long Island together to network, share ideas, and work towards common goals. Ralph retired from the Brentwood School District in 1996 and went on to work at Westhampton Beach High School as the interim Principal. He spent many years at Dowling College as a student supervisor, helping countless people through his career and retirement.
Ralph’s energy was endless. For twenty years, he also operated several concession stands, with his two favorite locations being Barrett Beach and Atlantique Beach on Fire Island. He was beloved at Fire Island and well known for his famous egg sandwiches, which partygoers enjoyed as a delicious “Ralph’s Revival Sandwich” in the morning. He employed dozens of local youth, including his two daughters, and the family has many warm memories of those years.
In 2006, Lions Club International honored Ralph with the Melvin Jones Fellow for Dedicated Humanitarian Service. Ralph’s energy, passion, and dedication to education and his community will be deeply missed by all who knew him. He was a remarkable person who touched countless lives, and his memory will live on through the many students, teachers, and colleagues he inspired over the years.
Ralph met his wife Beverly while working at Brentwood High School, and they married in 1967 at the Plattsburgh, NY air force base. Ralph and Beverly went on to have two daughters, Bethney and Delaina, whom he loved dearly. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather who instilled in his family a compassion for giving back to the less fortunate and a love of sports and the outdoors.
Ralph took great pride in his four grandchildren who shared his zest for life. Ralph was a doting grandfather who had a youthful spirit. The moment his first two grandchildren were born, he wasted no time in planning a family trip to Disney World. This soon became a cherished tradition, with subsequent visits to including all his beloved grandchildren. An unforgettable moment in Ralph’s adventurous life was the trip to Hawaii that he took with his entire family to commemorate his and Beverly’s 50th wedding anniversary.
Ralph had an incredible sense of humor and a competitive spirit. He loved telling entertaining stories that always ended with a joyous laugh. Ralph’s energy had many outlets, including maintaining his yard and home, trying new things, and learning to ski at age 50. Even in his last few days, Ralph demonstrated his energy and vitality by shooting a 95 on the golf course, the lowest score amongst his golfing companions. He also took out his John Deer to do the spring clean-up in his yard one last time.
Ralph was predeceased by his parents and his beloved sisters Mary, Rose, and Phyllis. He will be greatly missed by his beloved wife Beverly, loving daughters Bethney Ruggiero (Joe Garvey), Delaina Ruggiero (Chris Whitton), grandchildren Breelyn, Kate, Eloise, and Samuel, dear brother Joseph (Joanne), and many nieces and nephews who he loved dearly.
Ralph’s warm spirit, sense of humor, and love for his family and friends will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
***Ralph Ruggiero was instrumental in the creation of the ROTC program in Brentwood High School. To recognize his efforts in this endeavor, his family would like to present a scholarship, for this school year, to a current student in the ROTC Program. Family and friends are asked to make a donation in lieu of flowers. Forms will be provided at the funeral home. In 40 days the total donated can be viewed on the Raynor & D’Andrea website.***