Ron Iudice, age 74, died on Dec. 26, 2022, at his home in Mariposa after a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born on July 16, 1948, in San Francisco to Carmelo and Dorothy Iudice. At the age of nine, Ron moved with his family to San Jose. He was a graduate of Willow Glen High School.
He became a school aide for the Santa Clara County school system, working with developmentally disabled youths. At the same time, he met photographer Peter Cloud, who specialized in horse show photography. Ron began studying photography with Cloud, who died unexpectedly and the business was then purchased by Ron, who took over doing horse shows. He would spend his entire career in photography and was known for his quality work.
In 1974, Ron began phasing out the horse show photography, namely because he began specializing in other photography, including weddings. He had many cousins and other relatives who were getting married and he did the photography for those weddings. Based in San Jose, his business, Photo Design, specialized in a wide variety of photography, including weddings, commercial, family portraits and old-time photos.
In 1983, Ron purchased property in Mariposa, where he began fixing up the property before he decided to uproot his business and family and move to Mariposa in the late 1980s. He then opened Photo Express in downtown Mariposa. After owning that business, he ended his career working for West Coast Imaging, where he helped grow that organization. He retired after doing that work. On Aug. 19, 2006, he married Cindy Iudice and they have lived in Mariposa since that time.
One of Ron’s big qualities was service to his community. He was a longtime member of the Rotary Club organization. The Rotary Club of Mariposa Yosemite had a special meeting just after his death and the entire meeting was a tribute to Ron.
He was also heavily involved in the California State Mining and Mineral Museum, which is located in Mariposa. His involvement included being a key person in getting the vast collection of the museum moved from San Francisco to Mariposa when the museum was relocated. He served years on the museum’s board of directors, many of them as its chairman.
Ron was also involved with the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Mariposa, where he and his wife Cindy are members. In 2013, he worked with his lifelong friend Sal Maccarone in the remodeling of the church. Sal worked on the interior of the building while Ron not only worked to get the proper paperwork in order but also led the effort to redo the landscaping at the historic Mariposa church. Sal died just three weeks before Ron, on Dec. 5, at the age of 73. They were lifelong friends, attending school together in San Jose.
He also served on various county boards and for many years regularly attended the meetings of the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors. In 2012, he was voted “Man of the Year” by the Mariposa County Chamber of Commerce.
One of the things Ron is best known for in Mariposa was his involvement with KRYZ 98.5 FM. Ron worked as a radio disc jockey in the 1970s in Los Gatos. A chance meeting at a fundraising rummage sale with local resident Kevin Bowman piqued his interest in a local radio station. Bowman had formed KRYS Radio, which was internet based only. Ron said he would help with the project, but also wanted to make the station “actual” radio, with an antenna so local residents — and people in vehicles — could hear. With a larger group of people, that possibility was explored and when the time came, it was learned the KRYS call letters were not available for over-the-airwaves radio stations. That’s when the one letter was changed and KRYZ Radio was born. It was launched in 2016 and remains a local fixture to this day. The station was dearly loved by Ron. It features local programming and retains his vision of a local, community radio station for the people.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents. His mother, Dorothy Iudice, died in San Jose in July of 2022 at the age of 101. He was also preceded in death by his sister, Joyce Poncato, who died in 2019, and his daughter, Juliana Iudice Perkins, who died in 2013.
He is survived by his wife, Cindy, of Mariposa; his daughter, Andriana Iudice of Santa Barbara; his sister, Carolyn Iudice Hamilton of San Jose; along with his uncle, several nieces and nephews and many, many friends who will miss him dearly.
Ron was known as a reliable and dependable person who was also a top-notch businessman in all of his endeavors.
A memorial service for Ron is planned for 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 11, at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. A reception following the service is being planned and those details will be announced in the near future.
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