Captain Dominic Albert Ricci, USAF, Retired – born May 11, 1941, died January 3, 2020.
Son, Brother, Husband, Officer, Father, Teacher – Friend. Dom was born to Evelyn Vanuzzi Ricci and Albert Ricci (both deceased), and grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. He was big brother to Arlene (Brennan), Sam, and Al “Ricky,” served at Immaculate Conception Church, and attended Woolslair Elementary, Arsenal Middle School, Central Catholic High School, and Carnegie Tech. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1960, completed Officers Candidate School and became a cryptographer and a flight navigator. He spent seven years doing two things he enjoyed most: figuring things out, and traveling around the world. He didn’t talk much about those years, so if you have stories, please share them with us…While in the Air Force, Dom met Lauretta Marie Carmella Vitullo (deceased) where she worked at Hallicrafters, a communications company. They were married on June 1, 1963, in a pomp-filled military wedding, and soon were parents to Michael Enrico (deceased) and Marcus Enrico. After he left the military and moved to Chicago, Dom parlayed his skills in communications technology and his talent for selling – the latter courtesy of his father, Big Al, a Buick salesman in Bloomfield – into a regional sales position for General Telephone & Electronics / Automatic Electric (GTE/AE), and brought the wonder of automated telephony to the Midwest. This gig brought him and the family to beautiful Findlay, Ohio – halfway between Lauretta’s hometown and his hometown. Shortly, Laura Dominique “Niki” was born, and the family enjoyed many years together. Dom started his “Michigan chapter” in 1980, and managed the Shiawassee Telephone Company in Perry (MI). He married Nikki (Oates) Shipley, volunteered as a Deputy for the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s office, and became active in both the Knights of Columbus and the Free and Accepted Masons of Michigan, which was a bit unusual (Dad didn’t follow the rules all the time). Dom was also active in the Disabled American Veterans, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Loyal Order of Moose, and the Michigan Republican Party. Later he met his long-time girlfriend, Marilyn Metzmaker, and was “adopted” by her family – sister Joanie, brothers Roger and Tim, mom and dad Katie and Bill – who taught him the joys of fishing in the wild. After his telephone company was merged into a conglomerate a bit too monolithic for his taste, Dom worked for the US Postal Service, then found a home at the Michigan Department of Transportation, and moved swiftly up from the highway crew to teaching road construction inspection methods to MDOT employees across the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. In 2004, Dom suffered from a burst cranial aneurysm. Although he lost much of his daily independence, he still enjoyed the company of his family and friends. Marcus guardianed him for several years while Dom lived in Michigan and Ohio, and Laura guardianed him for the rest of his life, first in Ohio, and then in Harrisburg, PA.
Through his final years, Dom never stopped making friends wherever he went – no one could fully withstand that Ricci charm! – whether it was a fellow serviceman, a sales client, staff and residents at the homes in which he lived, or just that server at the diner that knew how he liked his coffee (cream and sugar, please – the real stuff). Throughout his life, Dom helped those he loved and those he liked, whether it was putting a roof on a child’s old house, making long drives for family events, or fixing a friend’s power tool. He loved to travel, experience new cultures (and food), get the most out of life (whether it was finding a good bargain or getting a favorite pair of shoes resoled), and was a stickler for “doing things right the first time.” He passed this down to his children as: appreciation and respect for others’ cultures and beliefs (and food), a passion for sustainability (and a good bargain), persistence, and thoroughness. Dominic is survived by all of his siblings; son Marcus, his partner Jeannie Ludlow, and son Zachary Daniel; daughter Laura, her husband Jeffrey King, and their children Jacob and Morgan; and Michael’s son Drew Hatton. We love you, Dad, and we will miss you. God bless, and safe travels.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, January 10, 2020, at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, starting promptly at 12:30 pm. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project at http://bit.ly/CaptainDomRicci.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Rothermel-Finkenbinder Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc., 25 W. Pine St., Palmyra, PA 17078. Memories and condolences may be shared at www.FinkenbinderFamily.com.