Ralph Sandretto

CARY, IL — Ralph Sandretto, known for his boundless energy and incredible sense of humor, passed away peacefully on April 28, 2024, in Cary, Illinois.

Born on May 18, 1930, in Calumet, Michigan, Ralph’s life journey of nearly 94 years was marked by his magnetic personality and willingness to help others with any task needing to be done.

Growing up in the rugged beauty of Michigan’s upper peninsula, Ralph’s early years were spent working in the copper mines, where he developed a strong work ethic that would define his life. In 1949, he married Janet Dube and together they raised three children. The family moved to Waukegan, Illinois Ralph spent many of his working years employed at Goodyear Manufacturing. He also worked at North Foods Catering.

When the Goodyear plant closed in 1978, Ralph relocated to Alabama to continue his employment with the company, retiring after 26 years of commendable service. It was in Alabama that Ralph met his second wife, Nilmarg “Nim” Lumsden, to whom he was married for 39 loving years.

Upon retirement, Ralph and Nim moved to Florida, where Ralph’s knack for fixing things soon made him the town’s favorite handyman in Port Charlotte. His ability to take on new challenges with a can-do attitude–long before the age of the internet — earned him respect and admiration. Ralph’s talents ranged from painting to roofing, home repairs, and lawn work, always ready to lend a hand where it was needed.

During his retirement years, Ralph enjoyed time spent with his wife and siblings in Port Charlotte, especially during the winter months when the family gathered for card games and shared laughter. His move back to Alabama four years ago, to be near Nim’s children, marked another chapter of his life at Cherokee Village Assisted Living, where he and Nim were cared for with love and compassion.

Following Nim’s passing, Ralph returned to Illinois to be closer to his children and grandchildren, where he lived at Three Oaks Assisted Living in Cary. There, he received exceptional care and was able to spend time with nearby family.

Ralph’s legacy is carried on by a large and loving family, including his sister Nathaleen Curtis; his children, David (Diana) Sandretto, Pamela (Michael) Ross, Gina Rickerd, Pamela “Sally” (Randy) Anderson, Donna Palmer, and Kevin (Kim) Lumsden; his grandchildren, Melanie (Walter) Johnson, Erinne (Kyle) Lehman, Myles (Finn) Rickerd, Brooke (Matthew) Dyer, Trevor Rickerd, Sabrina (Andy) Jones, Lance (Kim) Anderson, Jaron (Sydney) Palmer, Bron Palmer, LaShaye (Justin) Smith, Larissa (Tyler) Smith, and Leeann (Candice) Rothell; and many great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, including his great-grandchildren Logan, Mady, Ivy, Livia, Haven, and Everett. Ralph also leaves behind a special brother-in-law, Edward Peter (Kim) Dube.

Ralph was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Nilmarg Sandretto, his brothers Raymond and Basil Sandretto, and his sister Isabelle Leveque.

Ralph’s life was a testament to the joy of family, the value of hard work, and the importance of community. His crazy sense of humor (sparkled with “Ralphisms”), friendliness, and an adventurous spirit made him a dearly loved husband, father, grandfather, brother, neighbor, and friend. Ralph took pride in his family, particularly his children and grandchildren, and his memory will live on in the hearts of those who knew him. He will be profoundly missed, and his story will continue to inspire all who were fortunate enough to have been part of his journey.

Friends and relatives will gather together to celebrate Ralph’s life at a later date this summer.