Remembering Petaluma dairyman Ralph Bettinelli

  • This is a black and white PROOF of a COLOR PHOTOGRAPH.
    Contact: Beth or John O'Hara
    PO Box 750248
    Petaluma, CA 94975
    (707) 762-1759
    Fax: (707) 765-6740
    Cell: (707) 364-3878
    e-mail: john.ohara3@comcast.net
    Website: johnoharaphoto.com

Friends and family are invited to attend a funeral mass for well-known Petaluma dairyman Ralph Bettinelli at 11 a.m. Monday, July 15 at St. James Catholic Church, 125 Sonoma Mountain Parkway.

Mr. Bettinelli died while traveling in Scotland on June 28, 2013 with his companion Kathleen Doyle by his side. He was 75.

According to his daughter, Kim Jones, he died after surgery to fix a torn aorta in his heart.

Born in Petaluma, Mr. Bettinelli was raised on the family dairy in east Petaluma, which he eventually bought and returned to. In the early 1960s, he and his wife, Connie, started their dairy on Wilfred Avenue in Santa Rosa, eventually buying and returning to the home ranch in Petaluma in 1972. They raised five children that all participated in 4-H and Future Farmers of America events that spanned many years.

The doors of their home were always open to their friends, their children's friends, family members and often an occasional perfect stranger.

"He was very outgoing and treated people the way he wanted to be treated," said Jones. "He treated everyone with respect and liked to talk to people. He was never afraid to talk to anybody and treated everybody the same no matter what."

After Connie's death Mr. Bettinelli continued in the dairy business with daughter Roxanne as a partner. He recently retired, and today Roxanne operates an organic dairy on the home ranch.

"He was always doing stuff with the kids and grandkids," added Jones.

Mr. Bettinelli was an active member of the Petaluma Elks Lodge 901, Petaluma Rotary, and the Swiss Club.

He also won the Petaluma Whiskerino Contest back when it was held at the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park.

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