Rano Paul Papini, 54, of Kansas City, Missouri, died peacefully after a valiant battle against pancreatic cancer on December 3, 2009 in Tubac, Arizona, in the company of his loving family. He is survived by his wife, Rita, daughters Amber Papini and Gia Papini Lee, his mother, Ruth Papini, sister, Claire McJunkin, brother, Penn Papini, and a grandson, Arthur Rano Lee. A celebration of his life will be held for family, friends and fans at 1 p.m. on Thursday, December 10th, at The American Restaurant in Kansas City, where he played the piano with verve and flair for over 20 years. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rano Papini Memorial fund in support of the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, http://www.pancreatic.org/memorial/rano (310) 473-5121.
Published by Kansas City Star on Dec. 7, 2009.
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28 Entries
Dear Rita....it's been 10 years or more since we visited and you were on your way to
I believe Pueblo Colorado. I took care of your theee dog babies in Kansas City and had
The pleasure to know you and Rano. Don't know if I ever mentioned it to you but I asked
Rano if he would play a song for me on my almost 100 year old piano. He was happy to do
So and when he played I burst into tears! I explained to him that I had never heard "her"
sound so beautiful. What a privilege it was o have him play in my home. It's been probably
longer than you can imagine since I had my piano tuned because she always sounded
good to me. But alas, my B And middle C decided to stick so she is being reborn. I think
of Rano often and of course the day Gracie showed up at my door without him!
I hope you are well....you of course are a gal I will never forget either! Hope this gets
to you. Sendingyou fond memories and Blessings for you and your family.
Sincerely, Aunt Bonnie, dog groomer, extraordinaire!
June 28, 2019
Dear Rita-
I worked with Rano at the Bristol Bar & Grill for several years but was out of touch pretty much since. Was so sorry to hear that he passed. Rano knew that my favorite piece was Rachmaninov's 'Theme from Paginini' and would play that for me often at the Bristol, bringing me so much joy. And then when I was on the project to install a register system at the American Restaurant I got to hear Rano on the piano. When he saw me the next song he performed was my beloved favorite! Today I was playing a version of that song on CD and instantly thought of Rano. Wish I had a Rano CD, however. I just wanted to tell you that he was so very, very nice. He was so even-keeled, kind and humorous in his unique way at the Bristol. I'm so sorry for your loss and glad to find this page where I could tell you how special I thought he was. Rano was so proud of his family and loved you all so very much. This is a true loss.
Linda Gourley
March 3, 2017
We are listening to an old cassette of Rano on our way back home, so I googled for old time's sake and to look for any cds. What a shock to learn of his passing. Such talent, so young. His music lives on.
Christine Adams
February 1, 2015
I first met Rano and heard him play at the Bristol on the Plaza in Kansas City. I enjoyed his playing and pleasant chats between sets. I am very saddened to learn of his passing. Doug Biggs
Doug Biggs
February 16, 2013
I hope this message finds you and your family doing well. I was on FB tonight and somehow found myself on the memorial site for Rano. I did not know him well in high school but the news of his death saddens me. His talent was amazing. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Shery Crum Boyles
Shery Crum, Boyles
September 3, 2011
I knew him when we lived in Rogers AR and our father's worked at Daisy BB Guns. I was hoping to get in contact with him years ago but figured I had time. I am sad that I will not get to meet him or see him perform. My prayers to him and his family.
Bob Cummings
May 3, 2011
cynthia callison
February 12, 2011
Rita and Ruth,

I just heard about Rano this past weekend while visiting Todd Gurley and his mother, Janet, in Vail.

I am truly saddened to hear the news.

I told Todd and Janet about Rano and I starting piano lessons in the 2nd grade and how I quit sometime in Junior High. While Rano and I played together frequently as children (his dog being the mother of mine) Rano and I went different routes as we grew older.

When I received an invitation for Rano's Sr. Recital at the U of A I was delighted!. I really had not heard Rano play since we were in grade school. I was simply astonished at Rano's stage presence as he entered. That feeling just intensified as I watched my childhood friend play at a level I could not even imagine. I had only seen that quality of talent on TV and with the traveling symphonies that used to perform at the University.

I was fortunate enough years later to go to the American Restaurant and hear Rano play. It truly is one of my favorite memories.

The CDs I have of Rano are treasured possesssions.

I know Rano's children and grandchildren do not know me and Rita you do not know me well.

I hope Ruth will be able to share some stories of Rano's childhood that will let you know I always considered Rano a friend.

You all have my deepest sympathies.
Tom Swearingen
October 4, 2010
We are very sorry to hear about Rano. He was the piano player at the Crystal Pavilion where I worked in the 80's, and we all had good times working there. His performance of "Rhapsody in Blue" was the highlight of his repertoire, and people would stop and listen on their way in or out of the restaurant. I was listening to a Gershwin piece on the internet radio that made me think of Rano, and I decided to Google him to see if I could find him. What a shock to read his obituary. Our prayers are with you and your family; the music lives on in our memory.
Carol Elazier
April 13, 2010
January 12, 2010
Rita and girls,
Blessings to you and your family. I am sorry for your loss. We will miss Rano. I have fond memories of meeting you folks through yoga and then discovering our shared passions in home education and music. We cherish the years that Rano taught Elliott piano. He was a true teacher: he shared his expertise, but was also interested in getting to know the student. He fanned the fire that fueled Elliott's passion for playing and in that teacher/student relationship found new challenges in helping him stretch and grow. In that way, Rano will live on through the hands of our son. We are honored to have shared in your lives. Thank you. May something beautiful come from our tears ...
Becky Pryor & Steve Phillips
January 8, 2010
Rita, Rano was the reason we'd go to the American for drinks. His face would light up when he'd see us and we of course did the same at seeing him...so adorable and sweet. He'd often invite me to sit next to him and we'd sing together to older and current pop songs we liked. That was always such a thrill for me. Sometimes after finishing their dinners, other patrons would adjourn to the bar and join in on the singing. Pretty soon the bar area would be hopping. We have such good memories there afterall, that's where we met you. For us, the American will never be the same.
Molly Malone & Mike Taylor
January 7, 2010
I found out late about Rano's passing. I am a classmate of his from High School. We were not close friends in school but I did know him and knew that he had a lot of talent and was a good person. I was very saddened by the news of his passing. My heart goes out to those that knew him better than I did. As I said I am saddened so I can only imiagine how those that knew him better must feel. May God help the family and close friends through their time of sorrow.

Ross Goebel
Ross Goebel
December 24, 2009
I met Rano's darling mother, Ruth, years ago in Rogers Arkansas. We became friends, and later, I met Rano at the American Restaurant. He was the perfect gentleman, always thoughtful and caring of others, as well as talented and highly intelligent. I would say to Ruth, you son is the son every parent would like to claim as their own. I last saw Rano in February 2009, and he was seemingly in perfect health, it is hard to believe that a few short months later, he was dangerously ill. Ruth, I want you to know that Rano's name is on the Chaplain's Tree in the Memorial Chapel at Wesley Hospital, and also I dedicated the Christmas flowers at St. James Episcopal Church, here in Wichita, to Rano. I am thinking about you both constantly.

Love in Christ,
Jerry Malone
P.O. Box 21018
Wichita, KS 67208
Jerry Malone
December 16, 2009
I was so saddened to hear about dear Rano. I worked with him at the American Restaurant for many years and he was such an incredible man. He loved his family often talked about you all. I will always have a vision of him in his tuxedo behind the piano and always with a smile!
Dolly Wood
December 10, 2009
Our families lives overlapped in many ways mostly through ties to Daisy BB Company originally. Several years ago I was in Kansas City for a conference and took the opportunity to see and hear Rano. When three of us inquired about The American Resturant the clerk at our motel first replied, " They have a great piano player." Rano was gracious as always. Rita, we were neighbors before either of us married and I was your brother Roger's 6th grade teacher. Your family was terrific both as neighbors and as family of one of my students.Fred and I send our prayers for you as well as Rano,we will continue to enjoy Rano's music on CD's (we're too old for ipods).May God comfort all of you.
Marilyn Batie
December 10, 2009
I've been playing Rano's "Piano Classics" CD all day. What a technician, what an artist, what wonderful touch, what a joy to listen to. I wish I could be with his family and friends on Thursday in Kansas City but will instead play a song in his memory at Mickey's in Vail. Can't think of a better one than the theme from "The Champ" (What Matters Most) by Alan Bergman. Everyone should google these lyrics. A beautiful melody for such a beautiful person. Beautiful lyrics to help all of us who knew him.

May God bless Rano.

Micky Poage
December 9, 2009
I was so terribly sorry to hear about Rano. What a great guy and good friend for many, many years. My love and sympathy goes out to Rita, Gia and Amber.
John Duncan
December 9, 2009
Dear Rita and Ruth,
Fray, Eronia, Robel and I are very sad to hear about the untimely loss of your husband and son. I loved working with him for nearly nine years at The American. Our family enjoyed being with Rano and friends every New Years Eve. We are truly sorry about your loss. He will live in our hearts and memory forever because Rano is a loving person with no hard feelings towards anyone or any issue. Always a great listener, Rano listened to every challenge and always encouraged us. We know that this is a big loss for you and we share in your sorrow. Please accept our deepest sympathy knowing that we are praying for Rano and you.

Solomon Melesse
Solomon Melesse
December 9, 2009
I am so sorry for your loss Rita and Family. I always enjoyed talking to Rano and feeding your 3 dogs the treats when he would walk them on my mail route. God bless you and your family. Ex mailman John Wagner
John Wagner
December 8, 2009
Dear Papini family,
I was deeply saddened to hear of your loss. Rano and I went to junior high and high school together. I always admired his fun-loving spirit and his beautiful musical talent. He was a friend and a good guy. Although I hadn't talked with Rano in years, it seems like only yesterday. I want to express my most sincere condolences.
Danny Wilkerson
December 8, 2009
I always enjoyed when Rano would play for us at bijin during the holidays. It made Christmas that much brighter and less hectic. He always had a kind word and a smile for those of us at the front desk. I wish his family peace when it can come, and send my heartfelt condolences.
Katrina Wineinger
December 7, 2009
Dear Papini Family:
I was shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Rano. We had been friends for over 20 years; we first met at the Bristol, when he waited on my table. I explained that I was a friend of Micky Poage's, from Vail, one of his mentors. I watched his performing career over the years, hired him to perform several times, and visited with him at the American many times. I remember playing my harmonica with him once at the American. What a sweet guy, and what a talented musician. What a sad, sad loss; I will miss him. I will try to attend the gathering on Thursday.
Mick Lerner (913) 897-0868
December 7, 2009
I am deeply saddened by the news. Rano and Rita were the most beautiful example of a loving couple. Anyone would be lucky to have that love they shared. Rano was such a special person and will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Maureen Ferris
December 7, 2009
Just about 2 ½ years ago I was re-introduced to Rano Papini. I had first met him when he was a waiter at The Bristol. He was kind, thoughtful, and generous with his time and talent, above all very humble about his musical abilities. He looked at home behind the keyboard and always the entertainer. Just a few Saturdays ago my wife and I saw Rano and Rita at the American Restaurant. Even though the pain was massive he still played. He apologized to me for not being more social. Never did I think that would be the last time I would hear him play.

Rano will always be the epitome of what a man, husband, and father should be and how to carry yourself through out your life. I was fortunate to call him a friend.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Rita and his daughters for their loss.

John & Regina Higgins
December 7, 2009
I want to express my deep sympathy to Rita, Amber and Gia, and all of Rano's family. We had the privilege of living next door to Rano and Rita for 15 years, and enjoyed their generosity and thoughtfulness in so many ways, and - on summer days - the beautiful music that would pour through the open windows from Rano's piano. The world - and our neighborhood - will be a poorer place without him.
Allise Garrison
December 7, 2009
I was greatly shocked by this news. Rano was a wonderful man. He was kind to everyone. I worked with him at the Bristol Bar & Grill during it's hey day. Rano would come to the Don Bosco Senior Center when I was the Program Coordinator and play the piano once a month. The Seniors loved him. I am so sorry for his family's loss. He loved his wife and daughters very much.


Robert F. Bond
Kansas City, MO
Robert Bond
December 7, 2009
I want to express my deep sorrow at learning of Rano Paul's passing. We were childhood friends, and I have been aware of his accomplishments throughout the years. I do regret the fact that we hadn't spoken in many, many years, but I have very fond memories of him as a child. My sympathy goes out to his wife, daughters, and all of his immediate family. May you find peace.
Lisa Evans Hunter
December 7, 2009
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