Ralph A. Nardi Jr.

Ralph A. Nardi Jr. of Williamsport, Pa., adored husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend, passed away October 19 with his family at his side. He was born on February 18, 1935, in Williamsport, the son of Ralph A. Nardi Sr. and Dorothy (Hartnett) Nardi. He married Frances (Stanzione) Nardi on September 1, 1958, and they celebrated 63 years of marriage in 2021.

He graduated from Williamsport High School in 1953 and was a veteran who served in the U.S. Army. Ralph earned a bachelor’s degree in Business from Lycoming College in 1959. He worked for Canada Dry Philadelphia and The Equitable insurance agency in Philadelphia. He returned to Williamsport in 1970 and served as Principal Owner and President of Canada Dry Bottling of Williamsport for 29 years. He took a small, local bottling plant and grew it into a regional bottling and beverage distribution company that operated in 22 counties in Pennsylvania and 12 counties in New York. Ralph’s soft drink business included such brands as Dr. Pepper, Canada Dry, Royal Crown Cola, Snapple, A&W and Hires root beers, Orange Crush and Sunkist, Tetley and Lipton teas, and Evian and Perrier waters. He was a co-founder of Canada Dry Bottling of Scranton and even founded his own brand of soft drink, Frozen Run Black Bear Mountain Birch. Ralph ran his company with integrity, focusing on providing a rewarding and safe workplace for the staff whom he cared for very deeply, and providing high-quality products and services to the customers and communities he loved. He carried on a family legacy of operating food and beverage businesses in Williamsport that dated back to the nineteenth century and the A. Nardi’s Sons fruit and produce business.

Ralph was very active in local business and civic organizations. He was Chairman of the Divine Providence Hospital Board of Directors and Vice Chairman of the Susquehanna Health System Board of Directors. Ralph served as Chairman of the Divine Providence Hospital Board of Directors during its merger with Williamsport Hospital and played an integral role in the formation of the Susquehanna Health System. He was very proud of the creation of the Susquehanna Health System and the increased benefits to the community’s healthcare it offered. He served as Chairman of the West Branch Manufacturers Association. Ralph was a founding board member of the Hiawatha Paddlewheel Riverboat and worked very hard to bring the vision of that attraction to life as part of Williamsport’s economic vitality. The Williamsport City Council appointed Ralph to the Williamsport Water Authority Board where he worked to ensure the viability of the employee retirement program. He was active with the Korean War Veterans Association of Lycoming County and led its U.S. Flag Disposal team. He was a member of Mater Dolorosa and St. Joseph the Worker Catholic parishes in Williamsport and as a child attended the former St. Joseph’s school in Williamsport.

Ralph will be forever remembered as a fisherman, hunter, woodworker, and craftsman. He took great enjoyment from spreading his love of fishing to his children and grandchildren. He grew up fishing the Lycoming and Loyalsock creeks and was a member of Frozen Run Hunting Club. Ralph particularly enjoyed fishing trips with family and friends, especially on Clyde Lake in Flower Station, Ontario, and offshore fishing in Key West. He once wrote a long essay, “The Last Boat from the Foulan,” a heartwarming and humorous account of a memorable fishing trip with his friends in the Canadian wilderness that is published on Amazon. His woodworking included furniture making and carving and his crafting often involved painting and even knifemaking.

Ralph took his work and community volunteering very seriously but never took himself too seriously. He encouraged his family to rely on humor and laughter, to be humble and loving, and to put others before themselves. His laughter filled rooms and his stories and anecdotes will live on in his children and grandchildren’s memories.

Ralph is survived by his wife of 63 years, Frances (Stanzione) Nardi; son Andrew J. (Sharon) Nardi of Conway, S.C.; daughter Catherine D. (Eric Sr.) Nardi of Chicago; son Tony Nardi of Williamsport; son J. Pete (Amy) Nardi of Hilton Head Island, S.C.; 10 grandchildren (Marcus, Eric Jr., Kayla, Krista, Benjamin, Natalie, Isabella, Johnny, Patrick, and Lia); five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph A. Nardi, Sr., and Dorothy (Hartnett) Nardi, and his sister, Catherine Antonia Gallagher.

A memorial mass and gathering of family and friends will take place at a date to be announced. Ralph’s family would like to express their sincere appreciation and gratitude for the medical care and compassion given by the PCU staff of UPMC Williamsport.

Memorials may be made to the Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation 2780 West Fourth Street, Williamsport, PA 17701 www.wasdeducationfoundation.org/give/donate-online.html or to Lycoming College One College Place, Williamsport, PA 17701 www.lycoming.edu/advancement.

Online condolences and service details when available can be found on Ralph’s memorial page at www.SandersMortuary.com.