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Dec. 22, 1936 – March 12, 2014

Ralph A. Franchini of Williamsville, owner of a valet parking ramp in downtown Buffalo, died Wednesday in the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, Cheektowaga, after a brief illness. He was 77.

Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Bennett High School.

He was employed at his father Leo’s Texaco station at Main and Summer streets as a young man. His father also purchased a Mobil gas station on Swan Street, which was an auto garage and parking ramp.

The Franchini family also owned Franchini’s Lounge and a dry cleaners on that same block. Ralph Franchini parked cars in the 1950s at the Mobil gas station, which was later renamed the New Swan Ramp Mobil gas station.

In 1962, after his father’s death, Mr. Franchini and his two brothers took over the ownership of the ramp until his retirement.

He prided himself on the fact that this was the only six-level valet parking ramp in downtown Buffalo, serving employees, sports fans and restaurant patrons for more than 40 years.

After retiring in the early 1990s, Mr. Franchini and his wife became co-owners of How-Dee’s Country Western Bar, a bar/restaurant and gift shop on Main Street in Clarence. At that time, How-Dee’s was the largest country western establishment in Western New York and a popular spot for country western bands and line dancing.

Throughout the years, he coached the St. Leo’s Catholic Youth Organization basketball team and Little League baseball. He also enjoyed playing recreational softball at Lincoln Park with his brothers.

An avid golfer, he was the Msgr. McMahon Classic Christ the King champion for 1999 and 2000.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, the former Dorothy Nasca; a son, Mark; a daughter, Michele; and two brothers, Leo and Frank.

A prayer service was held Monday in Perna, Dengler, Roberts Funeral Home, Amherst.