On Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020, Ralph Joseph Pilla passed away due to COVID-19 while recovering from a heart valve condition in a rehabilitation facility. He was 91.
Ralph was born in the Bronx on March 20, 1929. Growing up during the Depression and World War II era instilled a strong sense of patriotism and family values in Ralph. As a young boy growing up in the Bronx he established a shoe shine base on a street corner near Yankee Stadium where he often spotted the players. He also worked as a delivery boy for a super market and was thrilled when one of his deliveries was to Yankee great, Bill Dickey. At Morris High School Ralph was a proud member of the Glee Club and developed a lifelong love of music and theater. Ralph was a gifted ballroom dancer and was admired for his mean tango.
Upon graduation, Ralph worked for the United Stated Postal Service in Manhattan while attending NYIT. It was during this time he was drafted in the army and served most of his two years in Korea and was honorably discharged with the rank of Corporal.
After the war, Ralph worked for a few different companies in the transportation industry before settling in at A-P-A Trucking Corp as an Accounts Receivable Billing Manager in North Bergen, NJ for twenty-five years.
During the majority of his time with A-P-A and most of his retirement, Ralph enjoyed living in Piermont, NY. He was an involved parishioner at St. John's Church serving as an usher. Ralph enjoyed watching the Yankees his entire life and developed a passion for playing golf and tennis. He played golf regularly for 30 years at Blue Hill Golf Course in Pearl River, always with a smile on his face. Ralph had a knack for storytelling and loved telling stories about his youth, life in the Bronx, and the Korean War to his grandsons and family. Along with other veterans he returned to Korea in 2014 as a guest of the South Korean government. His trips to Korea and Italy were highlights in his life.
He is survived by his son Ralph, daughter-in-law Erika, grandsons Nicholas and Charles, friend Janice, and close family Antonia Rerecich and her family â daughter Gina, sons Dominic and Andrew, grandson Brandon Hernandez, and sisters Egidia and Marie. Ralph was predeceased by his parents Alfonso and Lena, and siblings Marie, James, Richard, and Joseph.
People wishing to honor Ralph's life can make donations to the American Macular Generation Foundation at macular.org/donations.