Manville artist Ralph De Matteo Sr.

Ralph DeMatteo Sr. holding his original drawing of JM

So, awhile back I got an email from a fellow named Ralph DeMatteo Jr. It was about his father Ralph DeMatteo, who is a fellow Manvillian, was a Johns Manville employee, a “special policeman”, a member of the Civil Defense Force, and a member of the rescue squad… or in short a pillar of the community. But Ralph is also an artist… having studied illustration and design at The Famous Artists School of Westport, Conn. In 1969 Ralph was commissioned by photographer Neal Rauauro to do a pen and ink illustration of Johns Manville for his magazine News Flash Pic. Judging by this photo, it looks like Ralph knocked it out of the park. But paper wasn’t the only thing Ralph liked to paint. Here is a photo of his 1969 Ford Cortina painted by himself with the help of his son Ralph Jr. From what I understand it was a staple on the Manville Parade scene back in the day…

When I started this blog I promised myself that I would have it cater not only the history of the town, but the great people who live(d) here past and present. As a graphic designer myself, I have a soft spot for the overlooked talents of people who help shape the visual make-up and artistic demeanor of a town, and all the little things that come with them. And while I wasn’t around to see Ralph’s custom painted patriotic Ford Cortina cruise down Main St. during a Sunday afternoon parade I can rest assured that it made the event just a bit more colorful for everyone involved. That stuff they call “character”

Thanks so much to the Matteo family for sharing these photos… I’m so sorry this post took so long to see the light of day. And to the Ralphs… thanks for your aesthetic and and civil contributions to the community.

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