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Joseph Ragolia

1917 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Joseph Ragolia Obituary
Col. Joseph Ragolia

AGE: 99 • Smyrna

Colonel Joseph H. Ragolia, USAF Ret., of Smyrna, Delaware and Stuart, Florida passed away on Jan 30, 2017. He was 99.

He was born on May 27, 1917 in Trenton, NJ to Giuseppe Ragolia and Salvatrice Giluffo-Ragolia, immigrants from Sicily, Italy. In 1942, he graduated from Notre Dame University, having served as player-coach on the school's Championship Interhall Football team. He married his wife of 69 years, Dorothy Warner, on June 26, 1943. Mr. Ragolia then served the United States in Europe during World War II.

Following the war, he received a masters degree from Rutgers University, and held positions in education as a teacher and then principal. Mr. Ragolia returned to the Air Force and served for 10 years in the Pentagon under Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, including a stint as the Congressional Liaison. He retired from military service in 1976.

In later life, Mr. Ragolia honed his skills on the links, becoming Senior Club Champion at Miles Grant Country Club in Stuart, Florida. He also earned numerous Hole-in-One records. Energetic and tenacious, Mr. Ragolia could be seen by neighbors doing yard work, or enjoying cigars well into his early-90s.

He is preceded in death by his wife Dorothy, and son James Michael Ragolia.

He is survived by three sons, Thomas G Ragolia (Yolanda), of Sedalia, CO, Joseph M Ragolia (Kathleen) of Lewes, DE, and David C Ragolia Sr. (Tammy) of Bear, DE; eight grandchildren, Erica Ragolia Sayers (Gene), Nathan J Ragolia (Jenny), Josephine Ragolia, Jessica Ragolia, Jaclyn Ragolia, Sylvia Wilson, David Ragolia Jr., and Devon Ragolia; and two great grandchildren, James J Sayers and Grace Sayers.

A devoted Catholic, Mr. Ragolia was a beloved member of Saint Polycarp Parish in Smyrna.

He will be remembered for his military service, family leadership, good humor, gentleness as a grandfather and great-grandfather, loud sneezes, litany of family stories, and hearty laugh.

Mass of Christian Burial will be offered 11:00 AM Monday February 13 at St. Polycarp Catholic Church, Ransom Lane and South St., Smyrna, where friends may call at 10:00 AM in the parish hall. Burial with military honors will be 1:00 PM at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 2465 Chesapeake City Rd., Bear, DE.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Catholic Charities 2601 W. 4th St., PO Box 2610, Wilmington, DE 19805.

To sign the online guestbook, please visit

Arrangements are by Matthews-Bryson Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Smyrna.
Published in The News Journal on Feb. 9, 2017
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