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October 3, 2012
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Obituaries - Oct. 4, 2012

Jan. 2, 1922 - Sept. 28, 2012

Ruth L. Ukele was born on Jan. 2, 1922, in a cabin along Government Creek, just north of Rifle, to Vera Catherine Kirkham and Clarence Christian Ukele. Her parents and her oldest sibling, Mark, migrated from western Kansas by train in 1913 to the Rifle area, where they farmed on acreage just north of the current location of Valley Lumber.

The Ukele family relocated to what is now known as Ukele Lane west of Silt in 1928. Ruth was educated in the Silt schools, graduating as valedictorian from Silt High School in 1940, and then attended Ross Business College in Grand Junction.

After completing her classes, she became an accountant and partner in the Mile High Seed Co. in Grand Junction, from 1945 -1951.

On Oct. 7, 1951, she married Nicholas Paul Pittenger. They lived in Rifle, purchasing a small ranch in 1956 that was later incorporated into the city of Rifle as the Palomino Park subdivision in the 1980s. Nick was employed at the Bureau of Mines operation at Anvil Points for several years. Three children were born to this union: C. Fred, Connie Ruth, and Paula Sue.

Ruth was very active in the lives of her children as they were growing up, as well as the United Methodist-Presbyterian Church of Rifle, Jewel Chapter #77 Order of Eastern Star, Rifle Creek Homemaker Extension Club, the Rifle Creek Museum, the Rifle Senior Center, and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. She was a lifelong Democrat, serving many times as an election judge and precinct chairperson. She was an avid gardener of both flowers and vegetables. Her breads and jams won numerous ribbons at the Garfield County Fair.

In December 2004, due to declining health, she moved to Grand Junction to be closer to her children. In November 2009, she moved to Montrose to live with her surviving daughter. She was 90 years old at her passing.

Ruth was preceded in death by her infant daughter, Paula Sue, in 1957; her husband, Nick, in 1986; three brothers, Mark, John, and Arthur; and three sisters, Effie Ukele, Catherine Williams, and Della Griffin. She is survived by her son, Fred (Pam) of North Carolina; a daughter, Connie, of Montrose; two sisters, Mary Jane Propernick of Buena Vista, and Anna (Merle) Lloyd of Hamilton, Mont.; many nieces and nephews, and granddogs, Molly Spot, MaeBella, Glory, and Maddie.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the United Methodist-Presbyterian Church, 200 E. 4th St., Rifle, CO 81650, or the Rifle Creek Museum, 337 East Ave., Rifle, CO 81650. A memorial service was held on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the United Methodist-Presbyterian Church in Rifle. Private family inurnment preceded the service at Rose Hill Cemetery in Rifle. A reception followed the service. Arrangements are under the direction of Crippin Funeral Home and Crematory, Montrose.

Feb. 4, 1923 - Sept. 29, 2012

Raphael "Flash" Caloia, 89, father of Sherry Caloia (Dr. Jerry Tomasso) and grandfather of Ellie and Kody of Glenwood Springs, passed away from a brief illness on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Raphael was born in Old Forge, Pa., and moved to Syracuse after his high school graduation. During World War II, he served in the Merchant Marines, where he learned to cook. In 1951, he opened Raphael's Restaurant, which he operated for over 50 years.

Flash was "King of the Hill" on the WSYR Bowling program, and in 1977, was inducted into the Syracuse Bowling Hall of Fame. He practiced the organ every day and entertained house guests. Flash was an avid golfer with over 10 holes-in-one to his credit.

Raphael was predeceased by his parents, Libert "Buddy" and Edith (Scalzo) Caloia; and his brothers, Vito, Cookie and Tony Caloia.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, the former Betty Jean Chapman; five daughters, 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to Upstate Cancer Center, 750 E. Adams St., Syracuse, NY 13210.

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The Post Independent Updated Oct 3, 2012 05:43PM Published Oct 3, 2012 05:41PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.