SOUTH RANGE - Ralph H. Raffaelli, 73, a resident of South Range and former City of Houghton Police Chief passed away suddenly Thursday March 7, 2013.
He was born on Dec. 19, 1939, in South Range, Mich., son of the late Mario and Lillian (Lewis) Raffaelli. Ralph attended the Jeffers Schools and the NMU Police Academy. Before beginning a career in law enforcement he worked for the Quincy Smelter and the Copper Range Railroad as a fireman.
Ralph first patrolled with the Hancock Police Department before starting his 40 year career with the City of Houghton Police Department. He served as a Patrolman and Detective before becoming Chief of the Department for twenty years retiring in 2007. He also owned and operated a gift and antique shop on Quincy Hill.
On Oct. 31, 1969, he was united in marriage to the former Barbara Wiinikka.
Ralph attended Church of the Resurrection in Hancock. He was active with various law enforcement organizations during his professional career, earning numerous awards including the Prestigious Gov. John B. Swainson Award for the preservation of Michigan history. Ralph was a Copper Country history buff and in his retirement showcased a collection of pictures featuring the local areas throughout the years. More recently, he was working on a display to be shown for the upcoming Finn Fest this summer.
Ralph was also active with the Copper Country Historical Society and the Painesdale Mine Association.
He especially enjoyed spending time with his eight grandchildren and summers camping at various campgrounds with his family where he would spend time making new friends.
Preceding him in death were his parents and his brother Edward.
His wife: Barbara Raffaelli of South Range; his children: Lori (John) Jokela of Lake Linden, Ann (Tim) Wieber of Plymouth, Mich., Richard (Kellie) Raffaelli of Hancock and Christine Raffaelli of Denver, Colo., his grandchildren: Timothy, Jack, and Ella Wieber, Cory, Mathew and Emily Jokela, Fiona and Lilyanna Raffaelli; two brothers: Robert (Pauline) Raffaelli of South Rangand James (Laurie) Raffaelli of South Range; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins
A Mass of Christian Burial for Ralph will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday March 12, 2013, at St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church in Houghton with Fr. John Martignon to officiate. Spring burial will be in the Mt. View Cemetery in South Range.
Friends may call on Monday March 11, 2013, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Memorial Chapel Funeral Home in Hancock and on Tuesday from 10 a.m. until time of services at St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church of Houghton.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family suggests that memorials be given to Painesdale Mine & Shaft Inc., Copper Range Historical Society, or Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly.
To view Ralph's obituary or to send condolences to the family please visit www.memorialchapel.net.
The Memorial Chapel Funeral Home in Hancock has been assisting the family with arrangements