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Fr. Ralph V. Coletta, a resident of Richfield, Ohio passed away peacefully into eternal life with our Lord Jesus Christ on March 7, 2023 at the Justin T. Rogers Hospice Care Center following a brief illness. Born July 5, 1935 in Akron, Ohio, he attended St. Bernard's Elementary School. For high school and undergraduate studies, he attended St. Gregory Seminary, Cincinnati; Borromeo College Seminary, Wickliffe; and St. Mary Seminary, Cleveland. In later years, he attended Kent State University and Ashland University, earning his graduate degrees.
Fr. Ralph was ordained a Priest for the Diocese of Cleveland May 20, 1961 and dedicated his life to service of the faith community. As a man of great faith and devotion to our Lord, Fr. Ralph served at many parishes in the Dioceses of Cleveland, including: St. Clement, Lakewood; St. Martin of Tours, Maple Heights; Conversion of St. Paul Parish, Cleveland; St. Augustine Parish & Director, Diocesan Apostolate for the Deaf, Cleveland; St. Ambrose, Brunswick; St. Francis Xavier, Medina; pastor of St. Mary, Wooster; and pastor of St. John the Baptist, Akron.
Fr. Ralph had many spiritual leadership roles in his life. To list a few, he served the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community of Cleveland, the Vietnamese community of Akron, Chaplain of the Serra Club, Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus as a fourth degree and selected man of the year two times, Chaplain of St. Vincent de Paul, Chaplain of Jednota Slovak Club, and Chaplain of the Italian MSC Club of Akron.
Retiring from parish life in 2005, he continued to provide periodic priestly duties in area churches including St. Ambrose, St. Victor, St. Hilary, etc., and Sisters of Charity of St Augustine/Regina Health Center in Richfield.
During his retirement, he strove to appreciate and cherish nature. A member of Ideastream Public Media, he filled his home with classical music throughout his day. As an avid reader, he enjoyed learning the history of all faiths. He also researched local, national, and international current/historical news and events. When asked a question about many things, he would share his well-thought-out opinions with kindness and integrity. Adding to his thirst for learning, studying cultures and enjoying nature, Fr. Ralph loved to travel worldwide.
Fr. Ralph was more than an uncle to his family of 160 nieces and nephews who cherished and loved him. His joy was breaking bread and sharing intellectual/fun discussions around family tables. He administered the Holy Sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, Marriage, and the Anointing of the Sick, to many of his family members. Fr. Ralph was a kind and generous soul with a brilliant mind. He took care of others as an important personal mission. He walked with many through life's difficulties with faith, calm, patience, love, compassion, and insight.
Fr. Ralph was proud of his Italian heritage and loved his parent's hometown of Conversano, Bari, Italy and was devoted to Our Lady of Conversano.
He often said, "I prayed for calm and I was given the gift of calm." "Look out your window and see the many gifts that God has given you." "Let me teach you something." And finally, he defined a good deed as "Tutti Nice" and identified many relaxing days as "Lazy River."
He was a dedicated Priest, uncle, cousin, neighbor, and friend! We learned much about hope, prayer, and faith from him during his journey of life here on earth.
Fr. Ralph is preceded in death by his dear parents, Raffaele (Ralph) Coletta and Giovanna (Jenny) Mezzapesa Coletta and his five siblings: Angela Cutrone (Salvatore), Francis Tucci-Tricaso (Armond, Sam), Anthony Coletta (Helen), Rose LaGuardia (Joseph), John Coletta (Mary).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in the name of Fr. Ralph V. Coletta for the care and needs of the vowed Religious and Clergy at the Regina Health Care Center 5232 Broadview Road, Richfield, OH 44286.
Services will be at St. Hilary Parish, 2750 W. Market St. Fairlawn, OH, on Saturday, March 25, 2023 with the visitation from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and immediately following the Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. Bishop Michael G. Woost will be the principle celebrant and Fr. Paul J. Rosing will be the homilist. The Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery Akron, OH and will take place later that day.