IN MEMORIAM: Joseph Ruffino Sr, 78; Ruffino Pizza Patriarch


Joseph Ruffino Sr.,78;

Ruffino’s Pizzeria Founder

Joe Ruffino Sr.
Joseph Ruffino Sr.

ONEONTA – Joseph Ruffino Sr, 78, founder of Ruffino’s Pizzeria in downtown Oneonta,  passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, at Bassett Hospital.

He was born on March 1, 1938, in Carini, Sicily, the son of Giuseppe and Rosa (Sgroi) Ruffino.

In the late 1950s a young Joseph, barely 20 years old, came to the great USA as a stone quarry worker from Carini, Sicily, in search of the American Dream. During the years that followed, he worked hard in his country early on as a farmer and later as a construction worker.

While working throughout the Tri-Borough area of New York City, he was reintroduced to his future wife Rosaria Altadonna, whom he had known from his hometown in Sicily.

As their relationship grew to marriage, so grew their vision together of still finding that American Dream. They were married on July 11, 1964 in Brooklyn.

The lure of the countryside he so loved in Sicily, along with the influence of other family members who had moved to the area, drew Giuseppe and his young family Upstate in the early 1970’s. He and Rosaria knew this area would be ideal for raising a family. His work interest, along with the influence of other family members in the restaurant business, lead him to embark his future career of owning his own restaurant. In 1972 Joe Ruffino’s Pizzeria and Restaurant opened on Main Street in Oneonta.

Joseph is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years, Rosaria; his children, Joseph Ruffino, Jr. and his wife Ana of Oneonta; Rosa Brindley and her husband Thomas of Oneonta, Anna Tomaino and her husband James of Oneonta, and Antoinette Vasquez-Ruffino and her husband Cesar of Albany; 11 grandchildren, Joseph III (wife Jeannie), Thomas, Patrick, Anthony, Maria, Angela, Dominique, Maria, Cesar, Santino, and Vincenza; 2 step grandchildren, George and Anny; 3 sisters; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Family and friends are invited to call from 4-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, 2016 from 4 to 7 pm at the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, 14 Grand Street, Oneonta.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29 at St. Mary’s Church, 39 Walnut Street, Oneonta, NY, with Rev. David Mickiewicz officiating. Entombment will follow in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Emmons.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his memory may be made to a local charity of your choice.

Condolences to the family may be made online by visiting our website:

Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home of Oneonta.

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