It was a glorious night for the 37th Annual Dante Benedetti dinner at the South City Elks Club last month. More than 265 people turned out to pay tribute to two of the most likeable recipients ever honored. Ken Dito and Frank Ruggiero became the 65th and 66th men to so be honored. As usual Master of Ceremonies Gino Cimoli, was terrific with his humor and moving the program along. Dito is no stranger to the Pieretti Group as he grew up in North Beach and attended St. Bridget grammar school and later went to St. Ignatius where he starred in baseball. He started his college career at CCSF where he made All-Conference for that outstanding team. He then moved on to the University of California where he was the starting catcher for two years. Upon graduation, Ken became a teacher in the SF Unified School District for the next 25 years. He is best known for his work as a sports broadcaster with Bay Area radio stations, having started with KNBR and then later at KSFO and KFRC. He has done broadcast work for the Raiders, Giants and A’s during his career. Ken has been married for 47 years to his wife Susan and they have two daughters and four grandchildren. Ruggerio is another San Franciscan who grew up in the North Beach district and attended Galileo HS where he played lightweight basketball and baseball. His 130 lb team won the City Championship that included Fred Scolari and Billy Burke. In 1942 he entered the Army Air Force and was a mechanic on the B-24 Bombers. He worked side by side on several missions with actor Jimmy Stewart. When he was discharged from the service he returned to San Francisco in 1945 and went to work for the US Post Office where he remained for the next 34 years. He played semi-pro ball and fast pitch softball for many years with various teams. Frank and his wife have been married for 63 years and have three children, Susan, Judy and Paul. They have nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He recently became fully retired and spends much of his time bowling and attending Pieretti Luncheons and Old Timer dinners. To end the evening Dito read a poem he wrote for Frank Strazullo, it goes like this:
Our leader is Frank Strazullo,
Who keeps telling people to bacca ma culo,
And why do you ask,
Because they are talking and talking,
He says shut up in the back, shut up in the front,
And that goes for the sides too,
He yells at the top of his lungs pay attention,
I have something to say,
And Frank’s four-letter words,
Get your attention right away.
We all do agree that it never gets old,
Because our Frank has a heart full of gold,
And now you all know why our Frank Strazullo,
Has the right to tell us, “Hey Bacca Ma Culo.”
That kind of says it all...congratulations to the dinner committee who put the evening together. Led by Frank and the others Dante Santora and Bob Tobener it was a great evening.
Pieretti Group Notice
Bob Tobener wants everyone to know there will no longer be any reserved seating due to the no-shows at recent luncheons. If you want to sit with your friends all you need to do is show up early and save a seat by placing a coat of something else to designate your spot. At the last luncheon the latest honoree was John Bologna. He attended Galileo HS and was a decent baseball player there. Caesar’s Restaurant located on the corner of Powell and Bay Streets will be added to the luncheon sites for the Pieretti lunches for 2009. Parking is available but limited.