Peter S. Ristano- “Daddy’s Home”
Peter Salvatore Ristano, known by many friends as Pete the Weldor, passed away at age 73 at home with his wife by his side on April 23, 2020 in New Portland, Maine. Peter and Lorraine shared 51 happy years of marriage together.
Peter, son of James and Lillian, was born September 1, 1946 in Queens, New York. He graduated from Lawrence High School in 1965 and shortly afterward was drafted into the United States Army. He served in Long Binh, Vietnam until 1967 and was a decorated veteran.
Peter married his high school sweetheart, Lorraine Vaccaro, on July 28, 1968. To this day, family and friends speak of the football wedding reception held at his parents’ backyard in Hewlett, New York. They remember the homemade Italian food prepared by his Mother and his Aunts. They danced to their favorite doo-wop music played on a hi-fi record player. It was the baker’s first time making a cassata wedding cake. Great memories were made and are still remembered and spoken of today.
Peter was a man of many trades. He began his life’s work as a mechanic before he evolved into a landscaper mentored by his father and brother Stephen. He loved his work as a cook in the Hewlett Inn, applying his experience as a cook in the US Army; at this time, he created his famous secret spice. Peter started his own welding business and taught welding at a vocational high school, BOCES, before becoming a dockbuilder with the New York City District Council of Carpenters. Upon his retirement, he moved to Maine. Over his lifetime, Peter created many beautiful metal sculptures from the smallest rose to a giant sunflower. Most of his welding knowledge was self-taught at fifteen years of age.
Peter was known to be able to fix anything! He loved working on motors; in 2010, he built a 1949 Panhead motorcycle. As an avid reader of books, Peter possessed the knowledge to solve any problem family and friends presented him with whether it be family disputes, mechanical issues or gardening and cooking questions...He loved a challenge and was always there to help no matter what.
Peter maintained his childhood love of motorcycles throughout his life. Many fond memories were made riding around with his wife, children or grandchildren on his 1939 Harley with sidecar. The motorcycle trip from New York to Maine was especially memorable.
Peter loved the outdoors. Over the years, he found many four-leafed clovers which are treasured by his children and grandchildren. Peter, a true patriot, was proud to teach his grandchildren how to shoot a .22 at handmade targets in the backyard. He loved taking rides on his four-wheeler, snowmobile, tractor or bulldozer with his grandchildren. He enjoyed hunting and fishing with his son Jimmy. He loved to grow vegetables and planted many fruit trees. He grew a huge field of sunflowers which greeted his visitors and passersby putting a smile on everyone’s face. He yearned to grow the world’s largest pumpkin. Peter’s all time favorite fruit was watermelon; he was the family’s watermelon eating champion. He was always happy to share his harvest! Family and friends looked forward to receiving Peter’s homemade gifts such as secret spice, sausage, wine, Italian bread, soppressata, prosciutto, grape jelly, limoncello, dandelion wine and maple syrup.
Peter is predeceased by his parents James and Lillian.
Peter is survived by his wife Lorraine, his five children Charlene (Vincent), Jimmy (Lisa), Lorraine (Donald), Cherie (Sandro) and Renee (Al), his six grandchildren Tanager, Dillon, Cole, Siena, Luca and Dean and his siblings Stephen, Charles, Mary and Jimmy.
Services in memory of Peter will be held in New York at a later date to be announced.
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