Ralph Theodore Stella formerly of Warwick, N.Y., and Greeley, Pa., died on April 30, 2021, in Lebanon, Tenn., after a battle with cancer. He was 90.
Ralph grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, one of five siblings of Salvatore and Florence Stella. Upon graduating from Boston Trade High School, he served in the U.S. Navy along with his best friend, Bob Brady, aboard the USS Midway; in the U.S. Air Force and was a veteran of the Korean War. He subsequently served in the U..S Army Reserves, which he retired from in 1991.
After separating from the U.S. Air Force, he settled down in Warwick and he started teaching Heavy Equipment Repair at Orange-Ulster B.O.C.E.S in Goshen, New York. He retired from B.O.C.E.S. in 1994. While at B.O.C.E.S., he taught countless individuals, as well as made lifelong friendships; some of whom were Steve Gurda, John Zwick, Gene and Bonnie Kirchner and countless others.
We will never truly know how many people Ralph inspired throughout his life, but you can rest assured that there was never a negative thing to say about him. The lessons he taught his children as well as his students will forever carry on. As he was always fond of saying, “Keep smiling!”
Mr. Stella is survived by his children, Jo-Ann and John Sitarski, Colleen Van Vactor, Ralph and Gerilyn Stella, Catherine and Larry Scimone, Bridget Swanka, Kerry and Joseph Iannone and Keith and Margaret Stella. Ralph was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Katherine P. Stella, and an infant daughter, Doreen Ann. He also leaves behind 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandkids.
Services will be held in the near future at the Hunter Funeral Home in Watertown, Tennessee where he will be interred. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to USS Midway Museum in the name of Ralph T. Stella.