Ralph Garafola, formerly of Warren Township, NJ (B.12.4.1929 d. 4.4. 2019) artist, educator, and author passed away at Tidewell Hospice of Lakewood Ranch, FL at 89 years of age on Thursday, April 4, 2019 with his family by his side after a long battle with cancer. He was raised in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn NY and became a New Jersey resident in 1962.
Garafola started his career as a draftsman in New York City for Armor Engineering. Garafola studied at the Art Students League of New York for over seven years with Frank J. Reilly, former Art Commissioner for the city of New York.
Garafola, a Korean War veteran, was an Army Combat Photographer. He worked as a commercial illustrator in the advertising industry and opened his own studio, Ralph Garafola Studio, in Newark, NJ. For more than 65 years he was a self-employed commercial illustrator, photo retoucher, and fine artist. Garafola retired as a commercial illustrator in 1990, and continued painting portraits and landscapes as well as teaching up until April of 2019.
He taught at the duCret School of Art, Plainfield, NJ and in Florida at the Sarasota Art Center, Longboat Key - Ringling College of Art and Design, the Art Center Manatee and Art Expressions by the Bay in Sarasota. Garafola also had students he tutored privately. He continues to be represented by his daughter, Lorraine Garafola, in the art world for selling his paintings and his books on art.
Ralph had a love of big game hunting out west and at the Arctic Circle, was the past Treasurer of the Warren Sportsmen Club in Warren, was an avid sailor for over 30 years and liked nothing better than sailing on his boat, True Love, with his wife, Carolann and two dogs, Spinaker and Jib. The day before he went into the hospital, he was teaching art to his students in Florida as he was very committed to them. He was known as a caring, honest man, who never complained but was demanding of his art students.
He designed the 9/11 monument in Warren Township in the Municipal Plaza and also donated a portrait of Major General Joseph Warren and Lora Codington, philanthropist of Warren Library; and other paintings that hang in the Warren Courtroom and in the new municipal building.
Ralph leaves behind his wife, Carolann Auriemma-Garafola, of Warren, NJ, his daughter, Lorraine Garafola of Boynton Beach, FL, his sister, Dolores Babbit of Myrtle Beach, SC. He is also survived by his nephews, Michael and Peter Lazzorotti of Queens, NY, his brother and sister in law, Dominic and Valerie Messina of Cape Cod, nephew and niece, James and Joanne Messina, niece, Carolyn Messina as well as his great niece, Maria Rose Messina, his sister in law, Sophie Garafola and cousins from Long Island, Staten Island, New Jersey, California, South Carolina and Arizona. Ralph was predeceased by his loving son, Billy Garafola and his brother James Garafola as well as his parents Willie “Cannon Ball” Garafola and Millie Garafola.
A Celebration of Ralph Garafola’s Life will take place at a morning mass on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Our Lady of the Mount Church, Mount Bethel Road, Warren, NJ and a repast will follow at a restaurant in Warren, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, Donations in Ralph Garafola’s memory may be made to either the Valerie Fund, 2101 Millburn Ave., Maplewood, 07040 or Tidewell Hospice, Philanthropy Dept., 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, Fl. 34238.