Ralph Caracciolo Obituary

Ralph J. Caracciolo
Ralph J. Caracciolo

September 14, 1922 - August 8, 2019
Born in Brooklyn, New York
Resided in Honolulu, Hawaii
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Ralph J. Caracciolo, 96, of Honolulu, Hawaii and formerly of Des Moines, Iowa passed away on August 8th, 2019. Ralph was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 14, 1922. He was one of 11 children and remained close to his siblings and their families throughout his life.

Ralph is survived by Katherine (Ursano) Caracciolo, his wife of 72 years. Ralph and Katherine made their home on the south side of Des Moines for over 60 years where visitors would be welcomed by the music from Ralph’s record player. Frank Sinatra was among his favorites. Ralph had over 1000 treasured records.

Ralph retired from Younkers Furniture Warehouse. After his retirement, Ralph worked part-time for many years at AIB College of Business. He was a longtime member of St. Anthony’s Church, the Society of Italian Americans and La Machina. Ralph also served on the Iowa Department for the Blind’s Independent Living Advisory Committee, having lost a significant portion of his vision as a child and the remainder of his vision later in life.

Ralph was an avid gardener with a very large vegetable garden that he tended with his wife, other family members and friends each summer. Ralph loved his time in the garden, in his basement workshop tinkering on his endless projects, dinner with his buddies at Francie’s for wings and baseball games. The Giants and the Cubs were his favorite teams.

As all of his friends and family know, Ralph was always outspoken and passionate about his views. You never had to doubt where he stood on a particular issue. You also never had to doubt what a big heart Ralph had. Everyone was always welcome for a dish of pasta on Sunday nights. Ralph participated in many fundraising walks for cancer charities (having survived cancer three times) and he joined his community to make the human American Flag at Principal Park following 9/11.

In addition to his wife, Ralph is survived by his daughters, Maureen (Dennis Sinnard) and Erminia (Craig Shelton), his grandchildren Katie Cownie (Damien Lock), Charlie Cownie (Kerry), John-Kawika Renda Shelton, his adopted grandchildren Suzie Cownie (Dustin Harris) and Frankie Cownie, his six great-grandchildren (Lila, Meg, Enzo, Giada, Lucia and Natalie), his brother Carmine, many nieces and nephews, and many close friends that were like family to him. Ralph was predeceased by his parents and nine of his siblings.

A funeral mass will be held for Ralph on September 21st at 10:00am at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church with the family greeting friends from 9:30am till service time. Burial of his ashes will immediately follow at Glendale Cemetary in the Ursano family plot.





St. Anthony's Catholic Church
Indianola Avenue & SW 1st Street
Des Moines, IA US 50315
Saturday, September 21, 2019
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
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Memorial Mass
St. Anthony's Catholic Church
Indianola Avenue & SW 1st Street
Des Moines, IA US 50315
Saturday, September 21, 2019
10:00 AM
Glendale Cemetery
4909 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
Saturday, September 21, 2019
12:00 PM