GRECO, Ralph Gregorio, 85, of Zephyrhills, Fla., died at home on December 26, 2012. He is survived by his "devoted" wife, Gertrude "Trudy" Greco, of 55 years; and son, Gregory Greco. Ralph was born in Jamaica Estates, Long Island, New York, youngest of nine children. Ralph became legally blind in the early 1960s, and he was forced to sell his owner/operator business "Brite Cleaner's". Ralph moved the family to Florida, residing in Zephyrhills since 1964. Having six brothers in the Army, Ralph enlisted in the Navy during World War Two on his 17th birthday (February 19, 1944). Ralph worked his way up to Gunners Mate Third Class, assigned to USS-LST 808. His ship was involved in the Invasion of Iwo Jima, February 19, 1945 (Ralph's 18th birthday), and the Invasion of Okinawa (Easter Sunday), April 1, 1945. Ralph's ship was sent to the island of Ieshima, where it supplied oil to other ships in the area and generated smoke screens to protect against enemy air raids. On May 18, 1945 his ship was struck by an aerial torpedo, and again by a kamikaze suicide plane on May 20. Ralph was a lifetime member of the DAV and as a resident of New York in the Masonic Order. Ralph "Garabaldi" was an avid CB (Citizens Band) operator in the 1970s. At Ralph's request, there will be no funeral services. Ralph would like for everyone that knew him to take a moment out of our hectic schedules and reflect back on the lives he touched. Upon completion of arrangements at Hodges Funeral Home, Ralph will be laid to rest at Chapel Hill Gardens, Dade City, Fla.
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Published in TBO.com on Dec. 31, 2012