Ralph Vito Modugno
January 30, 1923 – May 27, 2011
Ralph Modugno passed away peacefully on Friday, May 27 in Santa Barbara. Born in San Fernando, California, the first son of Italian immigrants, Ralph went to work at an early age, helping his father pick grapes and olives in the fields of the San Fernando Valley. He learned to speak English in kindergarten and began working in a local grocery store as a teenager. He attended San Fernando High School where he played football and threw the shot put while continuing to work in the grocery business.
He served our country in World War II as a medical technician, spending three years in England. After the war, Ralph returned to San Fernando and the grocery store, moving quickly up the ranks to the position of manager. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he met his wife, Helen, in the same store, and they were married in 1948. Ralph eventually bought his own market and began raising a family in San Fernando. In 1963, the family relocated to Goleta. Ralph continued his career in the grocery business, managing or owning several markets in the Santa Barbara area. In 1979, he purchased the Goleta and Santa Barbara stores of the Santa Cruz Market chain, where he continued working until finally retiring in 2010 at the age of 87. All told, he worked more than 70 years in the grocery business, enjoying not only the work, but also the many friendships he made in the business and throughout the community. It truly was his passion.
When he was not working in his stores, he enjoyed working in the yard around his Goleta home. He was very active at St. Raphael Catholic Church and was a member of the Knights of Columbus for over 50 years. A loving and playful father and grandfather, nothing made him happier than spending time with his family. Visitors to his home often faced his persistent insistence that they stay for dinner. Ralph is survived by Helen, his wife of 62 years; his brother Sam; his sons, Jerry, David (Kathleen), Jon (Yao) and Tom (Kim); his daughters, Susie Logan (Jim) and Janet Dell (Jef) and eleven grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Michael and Anna; his brother Frank (Bonnie); and his sister, Angelina Scattaglia (Frank). A funeral Mass will be held at St. Raphael Catholic Church on Friday, June 3, 2011 at 10 a.m. A Vigil Service will also be held there on Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 7 p.m. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to St. Raphael Catholic Church, 5444 Hollister Avenue, Goleta, California 93111.