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PVT Ernest C. Ruggieri

US Army

Battle of the Bulge

Purple Heart

December 16, 1942 - January 03, 1946

Ernest C. Ruggieri, 83, of Connellsville, passed away Monday, Aug. 1, 2005, in Excela Health Westmoreland Regional Hospital, Greensburg. He was born Sept. 18, 1921, in Connellsville, a son of the late Matteo and Rose Corrado Ruggieri. He was a member of St. Rita Roman Catholic Church. Ernie graduated from Connellsville High School with the Class of 1939. He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps and served during World War II. Ernie then returned to the States and opened his own dance studio. He started to dance and perform at the age of 10. Ernie taught tap, ballet, jazz, ballroom dancing and baton lessons throughout his 50-year career. He also taught dancing lessons throughout Greensburg, Latrobe, Brownsville, Monessen and California, Pa. Ernie also performed at various nightclubs throughout his career. He would travel to New York City and Las Vegas, which he considered his second home. Throughout his extensive traveling he had many opportunities to meet other popular entertainers, movie stars and renowned band leaders, such as Debbie Reynolds, Willie Nelson, Marty Allen, Sylvester Stallone, Harry James and many more. Ernie always found time to voluntarily entertain veterans at the Pittsburgh veterans hospitals, Mt. St. Macrina, Yogi Bear Campgrounds, Linden Hall and many personal care homes. He was a member of the Dance Education of America Performers. Ernie was also a member of American Legion Post 301 of Connellsville. Ernie is survived by his wife, Pearl Trinder Ruggieri, of Connellsville; a sister, Diletta Orlando, of Vanderbilt; two nieces, Pam Lowe and Dennis, of Vanderbilt, and their son, Patrick Lowe, and Debbie Stock and her husband, Howard, of Connellsville, and their daughter, Alexis Stock; and a sister-in-law, Anna A. Trinder Blystone, of Rices Landing. In addition to his parents, Ernie was predeceased by a brother, Joseph Ruggieri; a sister, Josephine Marie Bonadio; and brother-in-law, Joseph Bonadio. Friends will be received from 1 to 9 p.m. Thursday in the VITO C. MARTUCCI FUNERAL HOME, 123 S. First St., West Side, Connellsville. A blessing service will be at 9:45 a.m. Friday in the funeral home, followed by a burial Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Rita Roman Catholic Church with the Rev. Frank Lesniowski as celebrant. Interment will follow in St. Rita Cemetery. Military services will be held at graveside by members of American Legion Post 301, VFW Post 21 and Trotter Post 762.

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