In Memory

Richard Joseph Ongaro

Rich was born June 10th, 1943 to Anita and Ernie Ongaro of San Anselmo.  He passed away on September 28th, 2005 in a tragic airplane crash in Idaho. He is survived by his wife of almost 40 years, Diane Ghilotti Ongaro; his son Brian Ongaro (Amy) of San Rafael and his daughter Shannon Ongaro of Montana; his grandchildren Claire and Andrew Ongaro of San Rafael; his sister Pam (Bob) Murnane of Sebastopol; and his brother Ernie (Joan) Ongaro of Sebastopol.  He is also survived by his loving mother-in-law Yolanda Ghilotti of San Rafael as well as many nieces and nephews.  He will be sadly missed by a huge circle of friends.  Rich was the ultimate outdoorsman.  He loved to hunt, fish and play golf.  He and his wife were extensive travelers.  Rich spent most of his life working at the family business, Ongaro & Sons Plumbing in San Anselmo.  He was an alumnus of Marin Catholic High School and served in the US Navy.  Rich also coached CYO basketball for 18 years.  "Everybody loved him. He was a grandfather, father, uncle, son and a true friend. . . He had a huge base of friends."

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04/13/10 12:00 PM #1    

Antone Sousa

Rich - Eight years at St. Anselms; 4 years at Marin Catholic!! Those were good times! I remember when you lived at the end of Berlin Avenue by the creek. We used to go down in the creek behind your house and get tons of crayfish and fish for trout and Steelhead. I remember in the 8th grade when you and I and some others (probably Crowe and McMullen) got in trouble from Sister Benigna and had to pull weeds in the Convent backyard. We ended up tossing a lot of them into the neighbor's yard and got into more trouble. I remember in the late 50's when your dad bought the old Sousa House on Ross Avenue (belonged to my grandfather), and you and your dad gave the old Sousa Bible with all its records to my dad - you had found it in the attic. I remember when you moved to your new home our off of San Pablo Road in San Rafael in our Senior year. You had a big party; there was of course, the usual drinking, and yours truly was a little drunk. I remember that I punched a hole in your new bathroom door and we all took up a collection to pay for it. (You were the one that suggested it because you didn't want me to get in trouble.) Thought it was all over, until the next week when my mom saw your dad in down town San Anselmo and politely asked: "How's your new house?"- To which Ernie Sr. replied:"Fine, except for your dumb ass son punching a hole in the bathroom door!" Ah- Simultaneous mortification and anger for Mom!! Anyway, Rich, you were always such a good friend. I would drop by the shop from time to time just to sit and shoot the breeze (under the pretext of looking for some plumbing item) because I thoroughly enjoyed your company. And when I actually needed something, you were so helpful and gave it to me for cost or sometimes for nothing! That was Rich Ongaro - generous to a fault!! That Ongaro smile; that little giggle and that twinkle in your eyes!! We had so many good laughs there. Whenever I felt a little down, I just stop by the shop and get my free "Rich Ongaro" therapy. I also remember very clearly the first Jerry Crowe Golf Tournaments held in Palm Spring. I was such a horrible golfer no one wanted me on their foursome - no one but Rich Ongaro. God, you were patient with my eratic play! You never got angry; you never yelled at me; we just had a lot of fun together! And preparing for the 20th and 30th Class Reunions - You Eddie T. and I had so much fun!! We laughed about the old times and enjoyed sharing and working together. You were always the calm, stable one of the group. You kept us going on the right track without too many deviations. I really miss you and Eddie T. on this 50th. I know you guys are probably looking down now- Eddie is laughing and pointing, Rich is giggling and you are both saying "Look at the crazy Antone- still going off in 1000 different directions"! This 50th is for you, my friend!! Antone

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