Ralph Arthur "Cappy" Capitani, age 84, of Knoxville, Iowa, passed away Monday, February 27, 2017 at the Knoxville Hospital and Clinics in Knoxville.
Visitation for Ralph was held from 3:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M., at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum on Thursday, March 2, 2017. Ralph's family will be greeting friends from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., Thursday evening.
Ralph's wishes were to be cremated and a celebration of life service will be held at 11:00 A.M., Friday, March 3, 2017, at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Knoxville. Pastor Joel Picard will be officiating.
Ralph was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on March 15, 1932 the son of Joe and Cecilia Capitani. Ralph's parents died when he was a young boy and he was raised by his sister Rose and his sister Linda in Des Moines. Cappy graduated from Dowling High School, Class of 1950. After high school Ralph attended and graduated from Iowa Teachers College, known now as the University of Northern Iowa. During college Cappy was a football standout. He played fullback and was named to the NAIA First Team All American in 1954.
After college Ralph served in the United States Army and in January of 1956 was stationed in Germany. Ralph served all his military duty in Germany until his honorable discharge in 1957.
While stationed in Germany Ralph and Marilyn Joan Gabby were united in marriage. They began their marriage in Germany and shared over 60 years together and were blessed with three sons; Steve, David, and John.
After his Army service Ralph began his teaching and coaching career. He taught and coached for two years in Parkersburg and Ida Grove. In 1961 the Capitani family moved to Knoxville were Ralph taught government and coached. Cappy coached football, baseball, basketball and track for 31 years. He coached football from 1961 to 1968. Ralph taught High School Government for 41 years, retiring in 1992.
In the 1960's Cappy began to work part-time at the Marion County Fair Association as secretary because it paid more money than a life guard at the city swimming pool. By 1969 Cappy's passion for the racetrack had increased and by 1979 he was also the Knoxville Racetrack Promoter. During his many years of leadership, he helped grow the facilities from 8,000 seats to 24,000 seats and created new events.
Ralph loved playing sports and watching sports, especially football and the Hawkeyes. He especially had a lifelong love of golf and played a much and as often as possible. One of his greatest enjoyments was watching his grandchildren's activities.
Ralph is survived by his wife of over 60 years Marilyn Capitani of Knoxville; three sons, Steve Capitani of Knoxville, David (Trudy) Capitani of Northwood, Iowa, and John Capitani of Knoxville; three grandchildren, Spencer, Chandler and Livie Capitani; and one brother Joe Capitani of Skokie, Il. Ralph is preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Cecilia Capitani; and three sisters, Rose Bunch, Linda McFarland, and Lou Shelldorf.
In Lieu of flowers a memorial has been established in Ralph's name to Trinity Lutheran Church, Knoxville HCI Care Services, National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum or KRCO, (Knoxville Raceway Charitable Organization). The Winfield Funeral Home of Knoxville is assisting Ralph's family with services.
Published on February 28, 2017