Phil passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 6th at the age of 80. Phil Orlando was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 12, 1933. His Italian parents were Vincent Orlando and Sadie Sorrentino Orlando. He had three sisters, Beatrice, Rose and Joann. He came to California when he was five years old and became a Riverbank boy even though he graduated from Oakdale High School in 1951. Soon after graduation, Phil joined the Coast Guard during the Korean Conflict. After his discharge, he began working as a meat cutter in Oakdale and retired after 37 years in several stores. Music was always a major part of Phil’s life. His trio, “Phil Orlando and The Jesters” played every Saturday night at Divine Gardens in Turlock for 20 years until 1979 when he put up his horn for a few years. His trio kept many people dancing at clubs, weddings and house parties. When Oakdale High School had a 100 year celebration, the horn came out of its case again for an alumni band group he organized. That then developed into The Oakdale Community Band under the direction of Ron Quintanal and Phil was again playing for local concerts, care centers and clubs.
Phil met his wife, Sylvia Ratto, when they were both 12 years old riding to church classes on a bus. Though they were friends all through school, they did not date until after high school graduation. They corresponded through his Coast Guard years and after months of courtship, he popped the question, and their six month engagement ended with a huge happy wedding in 1954. They were blessed with three children, Steve, Ross and Marisa. He was a good Dad to his children and a good role model. Phil is “Papa” to six special grandchildren ... Joe and Lia (Corbin) Orlando, and Kristin, Amanda, Eric and Jennifer Rapinchuk. Their Dad Steve, is his only son-in-law, and a proud addition to the family. Phil is also survived by his sisters, Rose (Sal) Benenati, Joann Alton; nephews and nieces, Dennis (Sue) Martino, Cathy (Fred) Denier, Jack Benenati, Kimberly Alton, Lisa (Jeff) Ribeiro, Paula Ratto and Rick Ratto. Phil’s son Steve spent several years caring for him after Sylvia’s passing, with the help of his children Joe and Lia. Phil was preceded in death by his loving wife, Sylvia Orlando; parents, Vincent and Sadie Orlando; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Tony Ratto and Meta Rossini Ratto; his sister and brother-in-law, Beatrice and Bart Martino; brother-in-law, Arden Alton; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Larry and Jean Ratto; and nephews Jimmy Martino and Ty Ratto.
All of Phil’s children and grandchildren gave their parents a memorable 50th Anniversary party in 2004. He has been an active Papa attending every event possible in the lives of his grandchildren. Phil and Sylvia have been on several cruises and also enjoyed taking short trips together. As Phil got older, he really enjoyed sitting in his lazy-boy chair in the living room watching TV. They were both TV and movie fans.
For many years, Phil had a daily habit of attending morning Mass at Oakdale’s St. Mary’s Church. He said he needed to pray for everyone and so he did. He liked going to St. Mary’s monthly lunches with his wife and years ago, when Sylvia was working, he would take his Mom and Mother-in-law and others who needed a ride. He has never minded being called to help set up tables for that day. He also served on St. Mary’s Parish Council once a month, until his health left him unable.
Phil was friendly to everyone. He especially loved to give hugs. Daily hugs were given to family, friends and anyone he just met. It did not matter if you were old or young, man or woman, doctor or waitress... you had to have a hug from Phil. If you are smiling, you are remembering Phil’s hug. In fact, we know by now he must have hugged all the Angels in Heaven, too!
A viewing will be held on Thursday, July 17th from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Oakdale Memorial Chapel. A Rosary will follow at 7:00 p.m.
Mass will be 10:00 a.m. Friday, July 18th at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, at 89 N. Oak Ave in Oakdale. Burial will be at Oakdale Citizens Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Y.L.I. - Helping Hands, P.O. Box 970, Oakdale, Ca 95361.