Ralph Cavolo was born on August 22, 1950 to Rafael and Elsie Jean Cavolo.
He was born in Brooklyn where he grew up before moving to Staten Island with his wife, and high school sweetheart Susan Cavolo (Cook). As a boy he loved sports, particularly baseball, he excelled at it even so far being picked for an all-star little league team. He was an avid Yankee fan from the Mickey Mantle era all the way to you today all the way until today. In high school, he lettered in cross country track as well as graduated from Bishop Ford two years early. He studied to become a Franciscan brother and decided to leave prior to taking his vows. He met his wife Susan shortly thereafter and decided to take another set of vows. He attended Saint Francis College and sang tenor in the glee club, in addition to working full time or more while completing his degree. He worked as a bank teller as one of his many jobs before he completed his degree and became a teacher for the New York City Board of Education. He completed his master's degree and further education to become a master teacher in the field of special education.
During his years teaching, he worked at McKee high school, IS 61 before becoming permanent staff at Intermediate School 51 on Staten Island where he retired after 32 years. In addition to teaching the special education and resource room, Ralph was often found supervising lunch duty and end of the day dismissal. Every year at the school's carnival he was the one teacher who would volunteer for the cream to teach booth. That was the kind of man he was someone who everybody loved and made everybody laugh. He was a kind, compassionate man who is an expert in his field of study, but also learned enough to discuss art, literature or medicine.
In addition to having a successful career as a teacher he built a loving home for his three boys with his wife and love of his life Susan. As a man who lost his own father at 12 years old, he cherished the time he had with his family. He raised three very different young men each with a different facet of who he was. He attended every little league game, martial arts class, wrestling match or awards ceremony for his children. He drove countless miles and spent hours waiting helping to shape his boys into men with a sense of his ambition, duty, honor, sense of right and wrong compassion and of course, levity. He was a role model not just for his own children but a surrogate father to hundreds of students and he taught during his career.
His lazy days of freedom and retirement were cut short in February 2011 with the birth of his first grandchild and the second one in 2013. He and his wife Susan took upon themselves to be a daily part of the grandchildren's lives, whether it was watching little league games, being a taste tester for granddaughter Jade's desserts or watching reruns of The Rifleman with his grandson, James. Ralph made sure his grandchildren knew they were loved and an important part of his daily life. Ralph was a private man, who played the accordion as a kid. In his free time he loved to watch baseball, Star Trek and to read fiction, whether it was books for his class room like Captain Underpants or Harry Potter, the newest spy novel or political satire. He wanted to instill his love of learning in every child he taught, especially his own. He looked to give his children both roots and wings. He loved to sing and Sinatra was one of his favorite artists.
He passed on January 14, 2022, peacefully knowing he was loved and cherished by those he loved most. Ralph would've summarized his life in the words of one of his favorite singers Frank Sinatra by just saying he lived and loved his way.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to make a donation to St. Jude's Hospital in Ralph's name as it was his favorite charity.
"And now the end is here
And so I face that final curtain
My friend I'll make it clear
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more
I did it, I did it my way
Regrets, I've had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
I saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much, much more
I did it, I did it my way
Yes, there were times I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself then he has naught
Not to say the things that he truly feels
And not the words of someone who kneels
Let the record shows I took all the blows and did it my way"