HERRIN -- Ramo "Ray" Parola, 90, of Fresno, Calif., formerly of Herrin, passed away May 5, 2013, in Fresno, Calif.
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Ramo "Ray" Parola was born Aug. 18, 1922, in a small farmhouse northeast of Herrin to Kathrine (LaBotte) and Henry Parola. He was the sixth of seven children born to this union.
He attended local elementary school in Chittyville before going to Herrin High School. He pursued his college education at SIU Carbondale where he received his Bachelor of Arts.
A veteran of World War II, he attained the rank of Tech Sergeant 2C in the U. S. Army, 104th Infantry Division, also known as the Timberwolves. He more than once declined the opportunity to become a lieutenant via a battlefield commission, as it would necessitate leaving the men under his command. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart while helping in the liberation of Belgium, France and Germany. Through the years, he remained in close contact with the men he fought with, having established an unbreakable bond understandable only to those who have been to war.
Shortly after his discharge, he met the love of his life, Billie, and they soon married. After retirement, Ray and Billie traveled extensively in the United States and Europe. He was an avid reader and very creative man, pursuing projects of wood carving and drawing. He also loved his wine.
Ray is survived by his wife, Billie, of 62 years; son, Michael Parola and wife, Debra, and son, Zachary; daughter, Shiela Smith and husband, Brandon, and children, Todd, Tracy and Tiffany; daughter, Kathy Lamm and husband, Ron, and daughters, Kristen and Brittany; eight grandchildren; brother, Gene Parola of Honolulu; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and siblings, Enrico Henry Parola, Josephine Parola, Virgil Parola, Clifford Parola, Brooks Parola and Lester Parola.
Services were at noon Friday, May 10, in First Congregational Church in Fresno, Calif.
This obituary is courtesy of Meredith-Waddell Funeral Home in Herrin.
Published in The Southern Illinoisan on May 26, 2013