(82), of Cranston, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday October 2, 2021 after saying final goodbyes to his loved ones. He was the son of the late Nicola Coppa and Orsola “Lena” (Capaldo) Barone. He leaves behind his devoted wife of 51 years Maria (Longo), their three sons, Christopher Coppa of Cranston, Matthew Coppa and his wife Nikki of Cranston and Dr. Nicholas Coppa and his wife Millie of Osterville, MA along with 8 grandchildren - Joseph, Isabella, Analiese, Francesca, Lucia, Dominic, Luca and Francesco. He is also survived by his loving sister Marie DeLibero and her husband Peter of Cranston and brother Dr. John Barone and his wife Michelle of Lincoln. He was the brother of the late David Coppa of Providence and the late Ann Marie Anderson of Cranston. He also leaves behind his dear aunt, Teresa Roberti, along with many nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends.
Ray was born in Providence and raised in the Olneyville section of the City. Despite having lost his own father at the young age of 8, Ray was fortunate to have a vast support system of aunts and uncles in addition to his mother and grandmother (Maria Marraffino), who all worked hard to support the family and provided the building blocks which fostered his growth into the person who ultimately became the quintessential patriarch of a loving, vibrant family.
Ray was also fortunate to have attended LaSalle Academy (’57) and Providence College (’61) where he was molded into a respectable, caring and thoughtful young man who developed an unwavering moral compass that guided him through the rest of his life. He was extremely proud of his alma maters and carried a seemingly inextinguishable life-long debt of gratitude to the Christian Brothers, Dominican Friars and the institutions they represented. He was especially devoted to the LaSalle Academy class of 1957 and participated in many fundraisers and alumni events over the decades.
Ray continued his post-secondary education at New Mexico Highlands University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, earning a master’s degree from each in the 1960s. He was a lifelong educator spending over 30 years of his career teaching chemistry and physics at Coventry High School until his retirement in 1996. He later worked as a substitute teacher for several years.
After retirement Ray transitioned well into the “returning” stage of his life. He volunteered as a tennis coach at Coventry High School and taught catechism at St. Mark Church, where he was a parishioner for over 50 years. Ray was a devout Catholic who believed, followed and practiced the teachings of the Church, which were instrumental in shaping his character as a good, kind and caring person.
Ray thoroughly loved life and was a true “character” in every sense of the word. Although being a cohort of the Silent Generation, he was anything but. He was a voracious reader, an intellect who amassed a vocabulary that could challenge any of the best and brightest. He was smart, witty and exuded a special charm, effortlessly making him the life of the party and instantly likable to all those he met. One could describe this as a certain “je ne sais quio” or “sprezzatura”. Ray was never shy about showing off his intellect, wit and sense of humor, nor shy about sharing his opinion on any and every subject matter possible. He was full of wisdom and loved to share it with others. He loved to give advice and was never short of constructive criticism. Over his lifetime he developed a cache of “Rayisms” - catch phrases that were all too familiar to those who knew him and always fitting for any occasion or conversation.
Ray enjoyed many leisure activities but was especially fond of playing golf and tennis and spending time at the beach; he loved Bonnet Shores and spent much of his time there later in life. He was a former member of the Renaissance Alliance Lodge #1966, Order Sons of Italy in America and member (third degree) of The Knights of Columbus - Father Donnelly Council 322 of St. Mark Church.
Ray will be dearly missed by all and would have likely said “It’s the bewitching hour” or “To be continued……..”
Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, October 6th, from 9:00-10:00 a.m. in the NARDOLILLO FUNERAL HOME & Crematory, 1278 Park Avenue, Cranston, followed by his Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. in St. Mark Church, Garden City, Cranston. Interment will take place in St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston. Visit NardolilloFH.com for online condolences.