Friday, October 20, 2006

in loving memory of my dad

My father, 85 years old, passed silently away on the morning of Wednesday, October 11, 2006. He died 23 days short of his 60th wedding anniversary.

A copy of his obituary written by my sister, Sandra Rufolo:

Oreste J. Rufolo (Ernie), 85, was born in East Harlem, N.Y., on March 17, 1921.
He died in Morristown, N.J., on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 11, at CareOne.

Rufolo was a World War II veteran, having served under Gen. George Patton in the European Theater. He was part of the Allied Forces that liberated France from the Nazis more than 60 years ago, a tale he loved to recount.

Ernie attended Benjamin Franklin High School in East Harlem under the tutelage of renowned public school teacher and social activist, Leonard Covello, who established the school in 1934, and as its principal, ran it as a community-centered school, based on his innovative theory that the public school required close interaction with the community. The school was the first to embrace cultural pluralism and to recognize the importance of immigrant children, at the time Italians, to retain a pride in their native cultures while adjusting to America. Ernie graduated from there in 1937 at the age of 16 with an A+ average and later from City College of New York. He also attended the University of Grenoble in France after the war.

Ernie was an engineer for American Machine & Foundry for approximately 20 years, with whom he was transferred to York, Pa., in 1964. His designs were numerous, among them the AMF snowmobile, or Ski Daddler (he designed the head lights), design work on the Phoenix breeder reactor located on the campus of the University of Michigan, and design work on the M1 tanks still being deployed into military service today. He was also employed by BMY.

Ernie was fluent in four languages. He was a bird and tropical fish enthusiast.
Among his other hobbies were reading and doing The New York Times crossword puzzles in ink.

He is survived by his loving wife, Virginia Rufolo, three daughters, Linda and her husband Leonard, Park City, Utah; Sandra, Long Island, NY; Lori and her husband John, Madison, N.J.; five grandchildren, Alexandra, Katherine, Laura, Dylan and Thomas; a brother, Anthony, Annapolis, MD and a sister, Dora of Murray Hill, New York City; and numerous nieces and nephews.