MERIDEN - Life-long Meriden resident Ralph "Sonny" Carabetta passed away Friday, March 7, 2014 after a brief illness. The ninth surviving child, Sonny was born to Victoria and Ralph Carabetta, both Italian immigrants. His father predeceased him in February of 1930. Sonny was raised by his mother Victoria, along with his older brothers and sisters, during the darkest times of the Great Depression. He continued to live on the family homestead until his passing, surrounded by loving family and friends.
A 1948 graduate of Meriden High School, Sonny was drafted into the Army at the start of the Korean Conflict
. His company was sent to Fort Dix for basic training. Upon completion of basic training, Sonny was one of two men to be sent to Trieste, Italy where he took part in the post-World War II
occupation of the Free Territory of Trieste. Sonny considered his time serving the country to be one of the greatest honors in his life, and he never hesitated to acknowledge that his deployment to Trieste was his incredible good fortune, as so many others at that time were serving in Korea. He was a life-long supporter of the men and women in service, and remained a member of American Legion Post 45.
Upon discharge from the service as a corporal, Sonny returned to work at International Silver Factory E. Shortly thereafter, he left International Silver and began building houses in Meriden with his brothers. From these modest beginnings Sonny was instrumental in the growth of the company that would become known as Carabetta Enterprises. After several years, the business began to develop multiple-unit apartment complexes. The first of these, a 100-unit apartment development known as Crestwood I, opened in 1963. By that time, Sonny's skill as a construction foreman was evident. Admired and respected by those around him, Sonny was soon managing much more complex construction projects. These included the 1,200-unit development known as Lincoln Village in Worcester, Mass., and multiple other high-rise developments in the Boston suburbs. His innate ability to solve difficult problems on the job, which by now involved intricate excavations below ground and elaborate structural complexities above, was unmatched. No less important was his ability to cheerfully supervise the many talented men and women who were required to complete these detailed and difficult tasks. Though incredibly proud of his professional accomplishments, he remained humble, and his modesty did not go unnoticed by those who knew him. He remained on the job until the time of his death.
Known as dad, "papu," and brother, Sonny was most often known as "Uncle Sonny," to friends and family alike. With a constant smile on his face, Uncle Sonny was quick to laugh and make a joke. He was never known to complain, and even in life's darker moments Uncle Sonny was a constantly comforting presence. Adored by his children and grandchildren, respected by his family and friends, and such a large part of so many people's lives, the void created by his passing can never be filled.
He is predeceased by his sisters, Carmel, Rose, Josie, and Kate; and his brothers Dick and Mike. He is survived by two sons, Ralph and Gary; four grandsons, Michael, Gary Jr., Cory, and Sonny; and his brothers, Joe, Sam, and Donald. He is also survived by nieces and nephews too numerous to name, but including Joyce and Carol Ann (Tricarico); and many more great-nieces and great-nephews, including Vicky and Ann Marie (Elsmore). He was also very proud to have so many near and dear friends, all of whom meant the world to him.
Friends and relatives are invited to attend a Mass of Christian burial on Tuesday, March 11 at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery. Friends may call at the John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home on Monday, March 10 from 4 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Sonny's memory may be made to a
. For online condolences and directions, please visit www.jferryfh.com.