I was very fortunate to know Father Jim for some 40 years, but I got to know him especially well the last 20 years due to our affiliation with the Italian American Professional & Businessmen's Club (IAPBC). He was the Chaplain of our club. I would sit at his table most every Thursday, where we shared stories about our club's events, our families, the game of golf, and his love for his church, St. Anthony of Padua Parish in North Hill of Akron, and its members.
All the time I knew him, I never heard him gossip about anyone; rather he listened intently and would offer encouragement if someone had a problem. And, when he talked, everyone listened. He had such a great smile and deep voice that it was impossible for him not to have your attention. This was also evident in the fact that so many people attended St. Anthony's to hear his homilies when he would say the Mass on Saturdays and Sundays. He often commented that people came from about 40 zip codes. It was also evident that many loved Fr. Jim. Over 900 people attended his Funeral Mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Cuyahoga Falls.
Yes, I was fortunate to have known Fr. Jim Ragnoni, play golf and enjoy many a luncheon or dinner with him. Many of us enjoyed his singing, his homilies and his friendship. The Italian American Community of Akron has surely lost a good man, a friend and an excellent Priest. He was the glue to many of the Italian Societies of Akron. It's been only a few weeks since his passing, but his warm smile and wisdom is truly missed by many. – James Leone Sr.
Father James V. (Rags) Ragnoni, 82, a retired priest at ST. ANTHONY CHURCH in Akron, died from complications of a stroke on August 1, 2016. Born in Lorain, Ohio, he graduated from St. Mary High School in Lorain, Ohio. He attended St. Mary Seminary and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Cleveland on May 28th, 1960.
He served the people of St. Anthony of Padua Parish for over 40 years, as well as the people of Holy Redeemer Parish in Collinwood, St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Mentor and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Wickliffe. His greatest joy was celebrating the Eucharist and enlightening his parishioners through his inspirational homilies. His love for the children of St. Anthony School was treasured by all.
Fr. Jim was also a treasured part of the Italian- American community of Akron. He served as Chaplin for both the Council of Italian American Societies and the Italian American Professional & Businessmen's Club.
He enjoyed singing, golfing and sharing a good meal and conversation with family and friends.
Fr. Ragnoni is survived by his brother, Carl Ragnoni, several sisters-in law and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by: his parents, Vincenzo Ragnoni and Angela (Gacobelli) Ragnoni: his brothers, Ed, Vic, Armand, Matt, John and Vincenzo Ragnoni; and sisters Mary Martinez and Ann Thompson.