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Sunday, August 27, 2017



Sunday, 9:30 AM.  62 degrees F at the ferry dock, 59 on the back porch  Wind SW, mostly calm with light gusts.  The sky is cloudy and overcast, it is foggy and raining lightly, the humidity is 93%.  The barometer is rising gently, now at 30.02".  The week ahead will be chilly, with mixed skies and a chance of rain on Wednesday.
   Ugo Racheli and his wife Marcia were residents of Bayfield for almost two decades, but after they moved back to Colorado several years ago they never lost touch with the people and times of Chequamegon Bay.
   Ugo passed away in May of this year, just one day shy of his 84th birthday.  Ugo's life was well lived and quite fascinating, and many Bayfieldians, Joan and I included, attended a Celebration of Life memorial for him yesterday at the Pavilion.  It was attended by a large crowd, despite the fact that the Racheli's moved several years ago; a real tribute to them.
   Four of Ugo and Marcia's children, and a number of grandchildren, came from Colorado and other far places to host the event, which was replete with poetry readings, some of them Ugo's, and with lots of music, much of it of course Italian.
   Ugo was a dashing young Italian Air Force pilot, training at Loredo Air Base in Texas, when he and Marcia met.  They married in Italy (it was to be a 64 year long love affair) in a ceremony that included walking under the traditional military archway of crossed swords, and it was a storied life thereafter, filled with six children and many homes and  changing responsibilities.  Ugo became a US citizen, and was always very proud of his adopted country.
   Ugo went on after flight school to graduate from college with an engineering degree, which propelled him to become a NASA scientist, then a manager, with MS and PHD degrees in psychology and artificial intelligence, and finally a college professor.  In later life he taught and mentored many children in our area's public schools, and as a crowning adventure he and Marcia opened an Italian restaurant and deli just outside of Washburn, where one could enjoy the very best in Italian home cooking, served with true friendliness and delightful conversation.
   As is true for all of us, Ugo and Marcia had their tragedies and sorrows, but all in all they lived a storied life filled with duty, passion, and love.  As a tribute to both, those gathered sang:
That's Amore
(In Napoli where love is king
When boy meets girl here's what they say)
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
That's amore
When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine
That's amore
Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you'll sing "Vita bella"
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a gay tarantella
When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool
That's amore
When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet
You're in love
When you walk in a dream but you know you're not dreaming signore
Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli
That's amore
(When a moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
That's amore
When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine
That's amore
Bells will
   Ugo used a quote from Mark Twain as his mantra: "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day!"
   Ciao, Ugo!

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