Ralph Henry Valdrighi, 71, of Mathews, died peacefully surrounded by his family in a Richmond hospital on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014.
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Mary; his son, Christopher and his wife Lisa of Weems; his son, Jeffrey, and his wife Tracy of Cobbs Creek; grandchildren, Shawn, Rachel and Hannah Valdrighi; a sister, Anna Deagle, and her husband Reggie of Mathews; sister, Genny Holtz, and her husband Richard of Richmond; a sister-in-law, Betty Pugh, and her husband Stephen of Mathews, and numerous nieces and nephews. His niece and goddaughter, Donna Doherty of Richmond, was a special caregiver and devoted companion for Ralph and Mary.
The son of an Italian immigrant, Ralph was born in Richmond on June 20, 1942 to Stephen and Josephine Valdrighi. The Benedictine High School cadet won the heart of Mary Jones and the two sweethearts were married on Nov. 17, 1962. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2012.
The couple moved to Mathews County in 1979, when Ralph and Mary opened the Seabreeze Restaurant on Gwynn’s Island. They owned the restaurant until November 2013. Known fondly as “Sir” to his Seabreeze employees, Ralph was a second dad and mentor to dozens of young ladies and men who worked at the restaurant.
Prior to opening the Seabreeze, Ralph was vice president of Equipment Sales Inc. in Richmond.
A philanthropist, who was known for his big heart and generosity, he was a lifelong member of the Boys and Girls Club and a founding member and former president of the Mathews County Boys and Girls Club. He also served as a member of the board of directors of the Peninsula Boys and Girls Club and received a lifetime achievement award from the Peninsula club in March 2001.
A member of the Mathews County Rotary Club, he was named the Rotarian of the Year in 1998 and had perfect attendance from 1992-1999. He was recognized with the Paul Harris Fellow award, the Rotary’s highest achievement, in March 2001.
He was predeceased by his parents and brother, Stephen A. “Sonny” Valdrighi.
The family received friends on Sunday, Jan. 26, from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at Foster-Faulkner Funeral Home in Mathews. A mass was held Monday, Jan. 27, at 2 p.m. at Church of Francis de Sales in Mathews with interment at Windsor Gardens Cemetery and Mausoleum in Dutton.
Pallbearers were Shawn Valdrighi, Stephen Pugh, Cliff Pugh, Daniel Pugh, James Michael Shaw, Stephen Shaw, Charles Bucker and Ray Spear. Honorary pallbearers were Reginald Deagle, Dickie Hurst and Pat Griffin.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mathews County Boys and Girls Club, Mathews, Va. 23109, the Mathews County Volunteer Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 723, Mathews, Va. 23109, or the Mathews Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 1130, Mathews, Va. 23109.