Honoring Our Veterans: A Legacy of Determination

Ralph Mastoloni, veteran and JDRF legacy supporter

Ralph Mastoloni when he was drafted into the U.S. Army

Ralph Mastoloni always had a goal in mind.

The oldest of five children born to an American father and Italian mother, he was expected to help the most around the house. Ralph scrubbed the floors and washed the windows happily. “Our family was very close, traditional, loving, and caring,” recalled his youngest brother, Edward Mastoloni.

Ralph was extremely bright and always an outstanding student. One of his first goals was to attend college, which he achieved at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, N.Y., in the early 1940s.

Graduation was put on pause, though, when he was called to serve in the United States Army Signal Corps (USASC) in World War II. During his three years of military service, Ralph traveled to Germany, Belgium, Holland, and France.

After his honorable discharge in 1946, Ralph resumed his education at St. John’s University and then Columbia University while working for New York City Civil Service as a housing inspector.

When his father passed away in 1969, Ralph stepped in to take care of his mother for the next 20 years. As the only one of his siblings who never married, he assumed the role of caretaker without a second thought. “It gave the rest of us the opportunity to help with the needs of our growing families,” Edward said.

A Dedicated Uncle

Another role he took very seriously was that of “Uncle.” So, when his niece Louise was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in her early teens, he took special notice. “Ralph was always impressed with how easily she was able to adjust her diet and lifestyle,” Edward said. “Thanks to new research and technology, she has been able to control her blood sugar levels and avoid long term complications.”

Ralph Mastoloni wearing his "JDF" (today known as "JDRF") hat in the late 1990s
Ralph wearing his JDF (today known as JDRF) hat in the late 1990s

Ralph started donating to JDRF in 1988 and continued giving for many years. He also chose to leave part of his estate to JDRF in his will.

“Legacy gifts provide vital support, helping to ensure JDRF continues funding research until we achieve our vision of a world without T1D,” said Alan Berkowitz, JDRF National Director of Legacy Giving. “We’re so grateful to supporters like Ralph who share that vision.”

In his later years, Ralph remained committed to his passions and ambitions. In 1999, he completed the New York City Marathon. He was an avid tennis fan and knew every player’s name on TV. And he was extremely dedicated to the Veterans Administration.

Ralph passed away in June 2022, surrounded by his family and friends. True to his nature, he accomplished his final goal: to live to 100 years of age.

Investing in JDRF through a legacy gift accelerates our race to cure type 1 diabetes (T1D) and supports key advances that are helping people with T1D lead longer, healthier lives. Learn more about leaving your legacy at jdrf.plannedgiving.org.