• Gabriel Donio

Mourning Mayor Morano

Longtime former councilman served as mayor from 1996-97


Ralph A. Morano served as the mayor of Hammonton from 1996-97. (Courtesy Photo)

HAMMONTON—Ralph A. Morano, devoted family man and former Hammonton mayor, passed away peacefully at the age of 86 at home with his family by his side.


During the March 22 council meeting, members of council stood for a moment of silence in honor of Morano and his service to the town. Mayor Stephen DiDonato also remarked on the former mayor during the meeting.


“He passed today, and we’ll be putting the drape up on town hall first thing in the morning. May he rest in peace, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family,” DiDonato said during the March 22 council meeting.


Former Mayor Barbara Berenato succeeded Morano as mayor in 1998. She commented on his passing when contacted by The Gazette.


“Regardless of party affiliations Ralph cared deeply about the members of our community. He always treated me and everyone with the utmost of respect. I was in awe of the devotion that he showed for his family. My sincere condolences to his family,” Berenato said.


Atlantic County Fifth District Commissioner James Bertino served on the council when Morano was mayor in 1997 and in the 2000s when Morano returned to the governing body as a council member.


“My first memories of Ralph were at the paper company. I remember Mr. Morano as a businessman who always cared about his customers, as a family man who always cared deeply about his family and as an elected official who cared about the people he represented. He always listened to people. Many in government could learn from the example he set,” Bertino said.


According to his obituary, Morano was raised in his family’s home at the corner of Weymouth and South Egg Harbor roads, Ralph graduated in 1953 from Hammonton High School, where he was a three-sport athlete and football team co-captain as a senior. He continued his education at Stuyvesant School for Boys, a prep academy in Warrenton, Va.


After an honorable discharge from the United States Army in 1958, Morano returned to Hammonton and played for Hammonton Brewers semi-pro football team, finishing his career as coach and general manager of the Hammonton Bakers in 1965, his obituary said.


It also was around this time that he joined the family business, James Morano and Sons Paper and Cleaning Supplies. He served as Executive Vice President, working alongside his brothers – each sharing roles as warehouse foremen, salesmen, drivers and managers — for 40 years before retiring in 2004, according to his obituary.


Morano was elected to Hammonton Town Council in 1982 and would eventually serve eight terms over the course of three decades. He was elected mayor in 1995, serving one term. Other public service positions included Chair of the Hammonton Municipal Utilities Authority and member of the Atlantic County Ethics Board, his obituary said.


His obituary said Morano was a proud member of the Hammonton Lions Club for 42 years.


Aside from public service, his passions included thoroughbred and harness horseracing, watching Philadelphia’s sports teams (particularly the Eagles) and gathering each morning for breakfast with good friends. An avid horseman, Ralph owned several thoroughbreds through his partnership in Shamong Farms and later Manhattan Stables, his obituary said.


Retirement gave Ralph the time for his greatest passion: spending time with his wife and family, traveling the area year-round to watch his grandchildren play a variety of sports for their high school, club and college teams, according to his obituary.


He is predeceased by parents, James and Jennie, brothers, James, Michael, Anthony and Rocco Morano and sisters, Mary Thurston, Carmella Washburn, Rita Farrell and Gladys Pilman. Surviving are his devoted wife, Lois (nee Daley); his two sons, Ralph and his wife Claudine of Moorestown, N.J.; Greg and his wife Doobie of Hammonton, NJ; his brother, John Morano and his wife, Marge of Hammonton; and sister-in-law, Anna Morano of Hammonton. He was the loving grandfather of Gregory, Kasey, Maddie, Mason, Alec and Eric Morano, according to his obituary.


A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on March 27 at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish – St. Joseph Church, Third and French Streets, Hammonton. Entombment followed in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, 124 S. First Rd. in Hammonton. Arrangements were by the Marinella Funeral Home.


Donations may be made in Ralph’s memory to the Hammonton Lions Club c/o Arthur Orsi 345 E. Pleasant St. Hammonton, NJ 08037, his obituary said.