Dante “Don” Ridolfi of Tracy died Nov. 16. He was 94.
Ridolfi was born Oct. 14 to Idamo and Ida Ridolfi in New England Mills, California, now known as the town of Weimar. He grew up with six lively brothers and sisters and attended Placer High School in Auburn where he played football, baseball, was in the band and served as president of his senior class.
After high school, Ridolfi went to work for Southern Pacific Railroad building train tracks. This is when he met his future wife Goldie on a road trip to a big dance. She happened to be dating the driver of the car and Ridolfi was just along for a ride to the dance. She and Ridolfi were married just six months later, on May 11, 1942.
WWII came along and he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942. He was stationed in New Zealand, Guadalcanal, Saipan and Tarawa among others.
After the war he and his wife settled in Tracy and in 1958 they purchased their own home where they raised their family. Ridolfi started working for H.J. Heinz and various other jobs. In 1979, he went to work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, hired as a carpenter‘s helper, and retired from the Lab in 1986.
Ridolfi’s lifelong love of music became a second source of income for his family. Over the years he played his big stand up bass with many local bands and become a well known fixture with dance bands all over the valley. Eventually he formed his own band, “The Dolphins,” and became a popular group at parties and events all over Tracy and Northern California.
Ridolfi and his wife also found time for an active social life which included bowling leagues, square dancing, scout leader, American Legion, Tracy V.F.W., senior citizen bus trips that he organized, the Westside Pioneers, the West Side Historical Society and as a parishioner of the First Presbyterian Church of Tracy.
Ridolfi is survived by one sister, Melba James of Colfax, California; his four loving children, Faith Eskue of Turlock, Stephen (Anita) Ridolfi Sr. of Tracy, A’Enene Herriage of Stockton and SueEllen (Ken)Taylor of Tracy; 11 grandchildren Carrie Loscke (Steve) of Modesto, Jodie (Joe) Aguilar of Turlock, Stephen (Shawn) Ridolfi Jr. of Tracy, Dante (Eleina) Ridolfi of Stockton, Gina (Matt) Alegre of Manteca, Phillip (Amanda) Hallsworth of Citrus Heights, Michelle Seligman of Redding, Joshua (Kristie) Herriage of Stockton, Jill (Steve) Souza of Manteca, Ken (Janae) Taylor of Modesto and Katie Taylor of Tracy along with 25 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren.
Besides his parents, Ridolfi was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Goldie in 2013. He was also preceded by five siblings, George Carney, Olive Cortopassi, Florence Miner, Wilma Riley and Americo Ridolfi and three sons in-law, Bill Eskue, Mike Herriage and Mike Dees.
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday Nov. 21 at First Presbyterian Church, 101 Berverdor Ave, Tracy. Hotchkiss Mortuary 5 W. Highland Ave. is in care of arrangements. A private inurnment will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Ridolfi’s name may be made to Tracy V.F.W. Post #1537 at PO Box 1123 Tracy, CA 95378-1123 or Tracy West Side pioneers Association/ West Side Historical Society at PO Box 117 Tracy, CA 95378-0117.