Ralph George Busetto, 82, of Bettendorf, IA, passed away on December 27, 2020 at Genesis East Hospital, Davenport, IA.
Ralph was born August 10, 1938, in Centerville, IA, to George and Margaret (Sacco) Busetto. He married Carolyn Sue Spencer on February 26, 1966.
The family is grateful for the nurse who allowed Carolyn to see him and to speak with him via video while he was hospitalized. They are also thankful for the excellent care he received from the doctors, nurses, and staff. The family also appreciates the Catholic priest who visited Ralph to provide spiritual comfort.
Ralph was a tenacious fighter who was more fit and robust than many men half his age. He had successfully overcome a variety of health conditions in recent years. In fact, he was so resilient that news of his passing was a shock, because it seemed he would live forever. Whenever he was asked, he would always answer enthusiastically with, “Doing great!”
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, George Busetto, Jr., and Margaret (Sacco) Busetto, as well as by his siblings: Margaret Belloma, Mary West, Betty Clark, and Joseph Busetto. His dear sister Betty passed just minutes before Ralph, and they walked into heaven together.
He is survived by his devoted wife of 54 years, Carolyn; his children, Kristi Barnewolt (Jonathan Barnewolt), and Jeremiah Busetto (Heather Busetto). He cherished his role as Grandpa to Dartagnan Busetto and Delaney Barnewolt, Isaiah Castaneda and Aiden Busetto.
Ralph, a devoted family man, was fiercely loyal to his loved ones, and treated his friends with equal care and devotion. He never knew a stranger and would happily assist a neighbor in need. He was always excited to share the abundance of his garden or his mushroom hunting. Thrifty to the core, Ralph was raised in Sunshine, Iowa, a mining company town during the Great Depression. His parents were hard working, Italian immigrants. Despite their meager means, they made the most of their huge garden, always sure to feed their large family well. There was always plenty left to share with the hobos that would pass by on the trains running past their back yard. True to his upbringing, he was always focused on being a good provider to his wife and children; in this he never failed.
When his children grew, married, and had children of their own, he delighted in staying involved. He took great joy in large family dinners, with an impossible wealth of food surrounded by an even larger circle of family members. He would always proudly proclaim with his infectious smile, “If you leave here hungry, it’s your own fault!” When his grandchildren were babies, he would peacefully rock them for hours in his favorite glider chair. As they grew, he would happily get down to their level to play, When they got older, he was supportive and enthusiastic for all their various interests and talents.
Ralph was a gifted story-teller. He had a treasure trove of memories from his glory days,adventures and escapades to draw on for material. He had several favorite tales, many about his working years, that he would happily recount when given the chance. These stories only got better as the years went by, and even if a particular story had already been heard a dozen or more times, no-one would ever stop him from telling it again. The man had too sharp a memory to not know he’d already told it, but he and his audience were happy to relive the story yet again. These stories, and his memory, will now live on with his family and friends.
Many of these stories involve his best friend of 54 years, Duane Troge, whom he met at their employer, Libby Foods. Ralph spent his working years with various food production facilities, quickly gaining respect for his uncanny ability to immediately understand the inner workings of the most complicated production line equipment. A self-taught mechanic, Ralph was called all over the region to repair machines that no other mechanic could figure out. There was never a machine the man couldn’t fix. Ralph kept the home in equally perfect repair, relishing the opportunity to make use of his exhaustive tool collection. As with all else in his charge, he was particular with the care of his tools, and was an avid collector of Craftsman screwdrivers, of which he had hundreds. He would keep a keen eye at garage sales for an opportunity to expand his collection.
Ralph was especially proud of his son Jeremiah’s many exemplary years of service in the Marine Corps, and delighted in his grandson Isaiah’s continuation of the patriotic tradition. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family, or Ralph would be honored by donations to either of the non-profit charities: Semper Fi & America’s Fund, or The Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society.
Because of concerns related to the pandemic, there will be no funeral gathering at this time. Eternally pragmatic, he wouldn’t want there to be any undue fuss in these already trying times. He would be happy to know that his name continued to be spoken in fond memory, and that his stories would continue to be told with a smile.
To send flowers to Ralph's family, please visit our floral store.