The community is now speaking out following the death of Ralph Pontillo.
Members from Erie’s Manufacturing and Business Community, to nonprofits impacted from Pontillo’s work, are all remembering him.
There is no question that Ralph Pontillo made a major impact on the community. Most remember Pontillo from Roar on the Shore.
After talking with several community members today, they said they most remember his larger than life personality.
Former President of the Manufacturer and Business Association, Ralph Pontillo, passed away Saturday.
According to sources, he died after suffering an allergic reaction from a bug bite while at home in Florida. His death came as a surprise to many in Erie.
Many are remembering Pontillo for his efforts with Roar on the Shore and the larger than life characters he helped bring to life on the playhouse stage.
Plant Manager for Industrial Sales and Manufacturing Charlie Rutkowski said Pontillo was not only an asset to the manufacturing business here, but also the community.
“He was full of life, he really was. He always had a smile on his face all the times I’ve ever known him. He was always an advocate for Erie and the area,” said Charlie Rutkowski, Plant Manager, Industrial Sales & MFG.
Rutkowski said Pontillo was a leader when it came to growing business in the area.
“Its grown. I think its over 3,000 businesses. He always wanted to bring people on and companies to promote the whole area,” said Rutkowski.
One of Pontillos lasting legacy is Safe Nets Big Backyard, just one of the charities benefiting from Roar on the Shore.
“He was on it and apart of it before I knew him. His enthusiasm, vision, and what he put into it was just extraordinary,” said Linda King, CEO, Safe Net.
Funeral arrangements are not yet available, however people close to Pontillo said a memorial is currently being planned.