Ernest Ricci, Jr. Profile Photo
1931 Ernest 2023

Ernest Ricci, Jr.

July 2, 1931 — May 25, 2023

McKees Rocks

Ernest Ricci, Jr., Age 91, passed away peacefully in his McKees Rocks (Kennedy Twp.) home with his family by his side on Thursday, May 25, 2023. Ernest was predeceased by his parents, Ernest and Stella (Savatt) Ricci and his sister, Ida Mae Sirianni. He is survived by his loving wife of 69 years, Lillian (Trello) Ricci and son, Ernest B (Sherry) Ricci. Ernest was the proud grandfather of Ernest A. (Judy) Ricci, Esq.  of Naples, Florida and Dr. A. Gianni  (Caitlin) Ricci, currently residing in Durhan, North Carolina, and three beautiful great grandchildren, Siena, Ernest V., and Bella. Ernest developed and grew Ricci’s Italian Sausage into a Pittsburgh tradition, a business started by his father in 1945. After his father, Ernest Sr., became ill and sold the family grocery store on Island Avenue in McKees Rocks, Ernest, along with his mother, Stella, continued the family sausage business in the basement of their home. In 1972, Ernest had the foresight to obtain a grant of inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture, which provided him the opportunity to sell their award-winning sausage to wholesale customers. It is through this grant inspection; Ernest was able to develop a wholesale business which includes many local restaurants, pizza shops, and stores. Ernest also refined the formulation of the family sausage recipes and insisted that all the seasoning was to be mixed by hand, in-house for every batch of sausage, using all natural ingredients. This practice still continues today. The spices are purchased in bulk and are hand-mixed in Stella’s metal bucket, which is almost 100 years old! It is this special attention which gave the Ricci brand a distinct and unique flavor. In 2010, the Ricci family received the Family Business of the Year Award from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). Always dressed in his signature white meat coat, Ernest enjoyed talking to the many customers who visited the store and always shared stories of the past generations. The business celebrated 78 years in 2023 and Ernest worked at the business until he was 90. Although quiet, he always enjoyed when local celebrities would visit, especially Bill Burns, Joe DeNardo, John Cigna- KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast, Rob Pratte- KDKA Feast of the Seven Fish, Chris Fennimore and Rick Sebak. He always looked forward to the Christmas visit from Michael Young, former VP and General Manager of KDKA radio. After Michael Young’s visit, he would say, “How does that kid have time to visit me when KDKA works him night and day!”. Over the years, Ernest was featured in many articles in the Post- Gazette and also appeared in “Meat Pittsburgh”, which was produced by Rick Sebak and televised on the WQED “Nebby” series.

Ernest and his beloved wife Lillian loved to travel. They enjoyed over 28 cruises and traveled all over the world, including the Holy Land where they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, and renewed their wedding vows with Bishop David Zubik at Cana in Galilee. Ernest was very proud of his grandsons, and he never missed the opportunity to tell you about them! Family was very important, and his grandchildren were his life. He shared fond memories of the cruises with his grandsons to Alaska, Italy, Europe, and the islands. He taught them our Italian customs and traditions which included, how to eat polenta on a board and the Feast of the Seven Fish. He would give them specific jobs when we prepared the seven fish and would supervise them in the kitchen. From Montour Little Spartans, Robinson Baseball, Montour High School football, to college football games at Dickinson and Davidson, they always knew “Puppy” was cheering in the stands. When it came to education, “Puppy” always offered advice, financial assistance, and instilled a strong work ethic contributing to their success. He always told them, “Everyone has to work during the holidays. It doesn’t matter if you are in college, law school, or medical school. This business gave you the opportunity!” A very special thank you to our team at Commonwealth Hospice for their exceptional care and kindness throughout this process.

Relatives and friends received on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, from 1-3 PM and 6-8 PM at McDERMOTT FUNERAL HOME, 334 Forest Grove Road, Coraopolis (Kennedy Township) PA 15108. Mass of Christian Burial to be held on Thursday, June 1, 2023, at 10:30 AM in Archangel Gabriel Parish, St. Mary, Help of Christians Church, 1011 Church Ave, McKees Rocks 15136, and ending at Resurrection Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Ernest’s memory be made to WQED Multimedia – QED Cooks, 4802 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.  

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ernest Ricci, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

McDermott Funeral Home - Kennedy Township

334 Forest Grove Road, Coraopolis, PA 15108

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

McDermott Funeral Home - Kennedy Township

334 Forest Grove Road, Coraopolis, PA 15108

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)

Archangel Gabriel Parish- St Mary, Help of Christians Church

1011 Church Avenue, McKees Rocks, PA 15136

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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