Later this afternoon the sad and formal good bye for a well known and much loved native of Amsterdam’s South Side begins over at DeStefano’s Funeral Parlor on Route 5S. I don’t care how old you are, if you’ve lived in Amsterdam at anytime during the past century, your life has been touched in some way by the life of Ralph Parillo. He and his lovely wife Rita have been married for 68 years. They raised seven kids and those seven kids have produced 13 grandchildren who in turn have produced 13 great grandchildren. Throw in all the in-laws that have become part of their family and the aunts, uncles and cousins and…well let me put it this way, if you don’t have a good friend or relative somehow related to Ralph Parillo go get your driver’s license or birth certificate and make sure it says Amsterdam on it because you may be lost.
Seriously, at one time or another you could draw a direct bloodline from this proud veteran of WWII to three of the best restaurants this city has to offer, to City Hall, to the Amsterdam Fire Department and to classrooms throughout our school district. How many of us have been handed our prescriptions by Ralph or tasted one of his delicious soups over the years?
The images of Ralph Parillo I personally will store in my memory will be him and Rita sitting at a table-for-two as customers at one of their children’s restaurants. I will remember him with that smile on his face at a Parillo family gathering surrounded by delicious food and beautiful little Parillo babies. I will remember him taking a taste of a dish of something one of his kids had prepared and seeing that son or daughter waiting anxiously for their father’s reaction. I will remember him coming out of the kitchen at Armory Grill to shake the hand of an old friend.
My sympathies to his loving family. Rest in peace Ralph.