Sylvia Volpi, co-owner of Volpi’s Ristorante, dies at 79

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Sylvia Volpi, a musical maven who co-owned Petaluma’s famed Volpi’s Ristorante & Bar, died Sunday at the age of 79.

She had been in declining health for several years.

Born Oct. 15, 1937, Volpi was the daughter of late Sylvio and Mary Volpi, the proprietors of Volpi’s Grocery. Members of the family eventually converted the grocery store into Volpi’s Ristorante, a lively Italian eatery and bar that’s become ingrained in the city’s history.

The Petaluma native graduated from St. Vincent de Paul High School in 1955 before obtaining a physical therapy degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She launched a 25-year career at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, where she led the physical therapy department.

The classically-trained concert pianist often accompanied her brother, John Volpi, on the accordion and the piano for spirited evenings of music at their restaurant and other local venues. Their father, Sylvio Volpi, was one of Petaluma’s original accordionists who taught the craft to a number of local players.

In addition to her deep appreciation for music, Sylvia Volpi was dedicated to her family and friends. She also enjoyed traveling.

She is survived by her brother, John Volpi, and his wife, Mary Lee Volpi. She was the aunt of John Volpi, Gina O’Connor and Deanna Volpi-Kreger; and was the great-aunt of Jennifer Spaletta; Jamie Pottorff; Jimmy Spaletta; Johnny Volpi; Katie Volpi; Tanner Kreger; and Happy Kreger.

She was the great-great-aunt of Jett Pacciorini, Jazi Pacciorini and Shane Spaletta.

Family and friends are invited to attend the funeral mass, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, located at 35 Liberty St. A private entombment will be at Calvary Catholic Cemetery.

The family prefers memorials be made to Hospice of Petaluma or St. Vincent Elementary School.

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