Ralph Pisanelli

  • Born: August 31, 1931
  • Died: August 12, 2019
  • Location: Avon, Ohio

Busch Funeral and Crematory Services

163 Avon Belden Road
Avon Lake, OH 44012

Tel. (440) 933-3202

Tribute & Message From The Family

Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, and Friend

Ralph Pisanelli - The man, the myth, the legend.
Ralph Pisanelli of Avon, previously of Sheffield Lake, 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, especially as he lived with Alzheimer's Disease, and their 8 children; 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. He is 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-in-law, Richard Dillon.
He 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 also 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 Missile Battalion.
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 teaching you.
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 you.
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.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be forwarded in Ralph's name to the Alzheimer's Association, 23215 Commerce Park, Ste 300, Beachwood, OH 44122.
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.
440-933-3202 www.buschcares.com


Condolence & Memory Journal

May God wrap his loving arms around the family. I went to high school with Ralph= I will always remember his happy personality. Betty Widmer Slater.

Posted by Betty Slater - Mesa, AZ - Classmate   August 18, 2019

Dear Mary Lou and Family,

I reflect so fondly of our wonderful memories
we shared with our children in Sheffield Lake.
Ralph was so special to so many parents and their kids. He leaves memories you will cherish all of
your lives that I hope will help with your loss.
His great Legacy will always be remembered.

Keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers.
Norma Crnko

Posted by Norma Crnko - Elyria, OH   August 18, 2019

In high school, Mr. Pisanelli was not my favorite administrator. In fact, he was the one person that I avoided at all cost. It seemed that I was always on his radar and I felt singled-out. However, as I begin my 27th year of teaching, I can whole-heartedly appreciate and understand his persistence. He knew my potential and he pushed me to graduate (pushed is such a 'gentle' word in this case) even though I wasn't interested. His creative idea my senior year -to which I referred to as "he set me up"- forced me to earn my diploma. That first accomplishment set the framework for the rest of my life. RIP. You were truly one of the good guys. thank you

Posted by Sherri Sullinger - Marina, CA   August 17, 2019

God Bless And Comfort The Family.
He was AWESOME!! #1982AKHS

Posted by Tina Wallace - Louisville, KY - Student   August 16, 2019

So sorry to you Laura and all the Pisanelli families. You were all blessed to have such a large and loving family. I will remember you all in my prayers . God's blessings through this difficult time. Love, Janice

Posted by Janice Kopy - Strongsville, OH   August 15, 2019

Mr.Pisanelli was a good teacher when we met him in 7th grade,he was pleasant was a gentleman and he leaves a legacy that speaks so clearly about his priorities.

Posted by David & Janet Cupek Straw - Lorain, OH - Teacher   August 15, 2019

RIP Mr. Pisanelli - You Was The Best Of The Bunch - Jimmy Petrillo

Posted by A friend   August 15, 2019

Amy, Your dad sounds like a man who was larger than life. Truly, he will live on through you. With deepest sympathy to you and your family. Thoughts and prayers for peace. priscilla

Posted by priscilla    August 15, 2019

A quality person, educator, coach and administrator.

Posted by A friend   August 15, 2019

My sincere Christian sympathy to the Pisanelli family. I had the honor of being a fellow teacher at Admiral King High School. Ralph was a dear friend and remained so through the years after our retirement. I regret
not being able to come and pay my respect to a great man. I will be keeping the family in my prayers that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will bring comfort through this period of grieving.

Posted by Ron Bakalar - Rocky River, OH - Family Friend   August 15, 2019

To the Pisa Nelli family I am so sorry for your loss Mr Pisanelli was a wonderful man I was a student of the class of 1979 at Admiral King high and Mr Pisanelli was a very kind soul many prayers to your family and to Mr Pisanelli rest easy you will be missed

Posted by Lynnette Andujar - Loraint - Student   August 15, 2019

Mr Pisanelli was a great man. He was a wonderful teacher and administrator at Admiral King High School. I am part of the class of 1977. My prayers are with you all.

Posted by Ruth Calloway-Pugh - Lorain, OH   August 15, 2019

I grew up with Ralph & went to school with him, as I remember he was a great guy !

Posted by Bud Hockensmith - Punta Gorda, FL   August 14, 2019


Our deepest sympathy to to the family. He was a wonderful man. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Posted by Karen, Dan and Dylan Schevenius and Dennis - Avon, OH - Friend   August 14, 2019

Our families are deeply saddened to hear of Ralph's passing. He was such a wonderful man, husband, father, grandfather, and friend to all. May you find peace in the loving, and happy, memories of him that will forever remain in your hearts. Know that you are all in our thoughts, our hearts, and our prayers at this difficult time. Much love!

Posted by Guenther/Sheaves Families - Sheffield Lake, OH - Family Friend   August 14, 2019

Mr Pisanelli was a fantastic teacher, coach and friend. Our condolences to his family also with thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Suzi Kobylka-Krieger - Medina, OH - Student   August 14, 2019

My deepest sympathies to the Pisanelli family on Coach's passing. Coach P was one of my favorite teachers and coaches at AKHS. Even when he pushed us hard on the practice field, his sense of humor and his genuine interest in us as young men was obvious. He was truly one of a kind, and will be greatly missed. Godspeed Coach, RIP.

Posted by Tony Pulgine - Aurora, IL   August 14, 2019

To the Pisanelli family and friends my deepest condolences on the loss of you Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather and friend...RIP Mr. Pisanelli

Posted by steve parker - Sheffield, OH - Friend   August 14, 2019

Please accept my sincerest condolences in the loss of your father. Diane Smith

Posted by Diane Smith - Elyria, OH - Friend   August 14, 2019

I'm so sorry Ralph is gone. So sad, but a life well lived! Love to all the family.

Posted by Susan Marsolais - Saint Augustine, FL - Neighbor   August 14, 2019

I knew Ralph well while he was Asst Principal at AKHS and I was with the LPD Juvenile Bureau.He was a great guy and a man I was proud to call a friend. I offer my thoughts, prayers and well-wishes to the entire Pisanelli family during this dark time in your lives.

Posted by Dan Cairns - Cape Coral, FL   August 14, 2019

What a profound legacy he has shared with so many. May shared memories lift you up.

Posted by Rachel Derr - Wooster, OH - Coworker   August 14, 2019

This has hit me so hard. I Think so much Ralph, and the entire Pisanelli family. We were next door neighbors for the first 18 years of my life, at the corner of Elmwood and Irving Park. Much much love and respect for Ralph and the whole family. My thoughts and prayers to the Pisanelli family.

Posted by Rich Marsolais - Montgomery, AL - Friend   August 14, 2019

Coach Pisanelli coached us AND taught us on the football field. He was well respected and so well liked at Admiral King. I played for him in 71 and 72. I will always remember him! My condolences to all his family.✝

Posted by Gar Carney - Amherst, OH   August 14, 2019

As I read this, I cannot help but smile through my sadness as I remember Mr Pisanelli. I graduated from AKHS- Class of 79 and was one of the students that benefited from his firm hand. He was a Mentor and an Example for all of us. In your grief, please be comforted in the knowledge that his actions have touched the lives of countless people (many of which he never met) as his students have traveled through the world. Blessing and prayers to you.

Posted by Donald Magnes - beavercreek, OH, OH   August 13, 2019

Dear Mary Lou and family,

It is hard to believe that Ralph is gone. We were not only cousins, but grew up together as neighbors. There has never been a time in my life that I haven't known him. I know how hard it is for all of you to lose his daily presence, given the way his passing has affected me. It is so surreal; yet, I know logically that his last days he was not living but was just alive, and his restfulness now is with ease and without pain or suffering.

We will miss him terribly, but will never forget him. Our prayers are for his happy repose and strength to all of you -- and all the rest of his family -- to remain strong during this time of grief.


Caesar and Lynda

Posted by Caesar Carrino - Wadsworth, OH - Family   August 13, 2019

I remember Mr. Pisanelli from his time at Clearview. He was a great man. ❤

Posted by Joyce Matos Crossland - Englewood, FL   August 13, 2019

My deepest sympathies on your loss. Sending healing prayers to your family.

Posted by Diane Heflin Sanders - Lorain, OH - Family Friend   August 13, 2019

Much love to all of you---I am so very lucky to have known Ralph

Posted by Becky Eldridge - LOS ANGELES, CA - Family Friend   August 13, 2019


To the Pisanelli family, our deepest condolences. May Ralph be granted eternal peace.

Posted by Rich & Pat Miller - North Olmsted, OH   August 13, 2019

Family Album