CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A pillar in the community, and an icon to his family, Danny Ripepi was tragically killed in a freak accident as he headed to work on Interstate 480 Thursday morning.
The flag is placed at half staff at A. Ripepi and Sons Funeral Home on Bagley Road in Middleburg Heights. A way to honor and remember Danny Ripepi a partner in the business along with two of his brothers. He was also a husband and a father of three children and three step-children.
His brother Anthony Ripepi is devastated but gracious enough to talk to 19 News about the life and legacy of his younger brother. Choked up and with tears in his eyes, Anthony said, “He’s now in the care of my mom and my dad and that makes us feel good. And one day we will all be together again.”
Danny Ripepi was killed instantly on Interstate 480 when a highway sign crashed onto his Ford pickup truck, after a dump truck with its bed raised, hit the sign. His brother and business partner Anthony rushed to the scene of the accident. He said he just had to, “I had to. He’s my younger brother. I had to, there was no way of stopping it.”
The family is devastated and asking how something like this could happen to someone they say was good-hearted to his core and never said no to anyone in need. One example of Danny’s generosity -- along with the kindness of his brothers, they picked up the tab to pay for bulletproof vests for the Cleveland Police Canine Unit because the department didn’t have the funds available.
“He was probably the biggest hearted, kindest person you ever met in your life. He always had a smile. He loved people. So we decided to donate all those vests – they weren’t cheap, but we didn’t care. Those K9′s and those officers deserve it,” Anthony Ripepi said.
But when it came to his priorities, there was no doubt about where Danny Ripepi’s heart was in life.
“His world revolved around his family. He loved his kids and was a great father.”
He also enjoyed working hard every day as a Funeral Director for A. Ripepi & Sons Funeral Home in Middleburg Heights and cared about being there for others, including the Cleveland Police Department as they recently mourned the loss of Detective James Skernivitz who was shot and killed in the line of duty.
Now Danny’s brother says the care and generosity he showed to others in his life is being paid back to his family in the form of support, during their darkest hour. Anthony Ripepi says, “If anything good comes out of this – it’s the fact that we know that what we did helping people has been noticed. And that his life and what he did has been noticed.”
Calling Hours for Danny Ripepi will be held on Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at A. Ripepi & Sons Funeral Home on Bagley Road in Middleburg Heights. His funeral will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Parma. He will be laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Donations can be made in Danny Ripepi’s memory to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.