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Ralph J. Coletta

December 13, 1921 October 19, 2011
Ralph J. Coletta
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Obituary for Ralph J. Coletta

PEORIA- Retired attorney Ralph J. Coletta, age 89, of Peoria, died at 5:25 AM, Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at Methodist Medical Center. Born December 13, 1921 in Chillicothe, Illinois to Cesidio and Assunta Aromatario Coletta, he married Ethel Mary Meyers on November 19, 1949 at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Peoria. She survives. Also surviving are four daughters and two sons, being Jeanie Caskey (Barry Stortz) and Michele (Dan) Smith and Robert (Valencia) Coletta, all of Peoria; Marianne (Pete) Hoener of Austin, Texas; Suzanne (Vince) Kennedy of Barrington and Joseph (Debra) of Highland Park; and fourteen grandchildren and two great grand-daughters and one great-grandson. His parents; and one daughter, Renee Joers of Downers Grove; one brother, John of Italy; and one grandson, Adam Ahitow of Las Vegas, NV preceded him in death. He was a World War II army veteran, a graduate of the United States Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, GA, and was commissioned as a Second and First Lieutenant of Infantry. He served in the South Pacific Theater of Operations. After the Japanese surrendered, he served with the United States Army of Occupation in Japan as an Intelligence Officer with the general headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur as a Japanese language interpreter. He also served the Fifth Army headquarters General Courts-Martial at Fort Sheridan, Illinois and as a reserve officer in 1948-49. Mr. Coletta was a graduate of Chillicothe grade school, Peoria High School, earned a bachelor’s degree from Bradley Polytechnic Institute, now Bradley University, and his doctorate in law from the University of Chicago Law School in 1949 after military service and passed his bar examination in that year. He founded the family law firm in Peoria in 1950, being later joined in the practice of law by his sons, Joseph and Robert. He had been a lawyer for over fifty-five years and was recognized as a senior counselor by the Illinois State Bar Association in the year 2000. He was admitted to practice before all Illinois State Courts, and the Supreme Court of the United States. He was also a member of the American, State of Illinois, Chicago, and Peoria County Bar Associations. He served as a hearing officer for the Illinois Pollution Control Board from 1970 to1975. Mr. Coletta served as Assistant States Attorney of Peoria County from 1952 to 1956, and later served as Vice-chairman of the business and Commercial Law Committee of the American Bar Association. He was active in the development of real estate in the Peoria area and served as president of two real estate development organizations, the White Star Corporation and as a general partner of The Ralet Limited Partnership and Mark Tidd, Inc., all real estate development firms. He was a former director of the Illinois Valley Savings and Loan Association for many years and was a founding director and officer in Wheels O’Time Museum, and served as a director of The Peoria Regional Museum Society. He was a member of Land of Lincoln Packards, and Packard Automobile Association, the Italian American Society, the American Legion Peoria Post # 2, and the 40 and 8 of the Legion; the Knights of Columbus, Fourth Degree, Mt. Hawley Country Club, the Union League Club of Chicago, the Creve Coeur Club of Peoria, the Bradley University B Club, the Bradley Chiefs Club, and Lakeview Museum. He was a former director of St. Jude’s Midwest Affiliate and an advisor to the Peoria Area Blind People’s Center. He was a former Republican Precinct Committeeman for ten years, a former member of the Peoria Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Peoria Chamber of Commerce and was a Republican delegate to Illinois. He also was a Mass Lector and served on the Parish Council at St. Philomena Catholic Church where he was a member for many years. A Funeral Mass will be at 11:00 AM Saturday, October 22, at St. Philomena Catholic Church. Fr. David Richardson will officiate. Visitation will be from 9:00 to 11:00 AM prior to the Mass at church. Private entombment will be held at Resurrection Mausoleum for the immediate family. Wright & Salmon Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to South Side Bank for the college fund for his great- grandson, Aden Ahitow. Tributes and condolences may be submitted to www.wrightandsalmon.com

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