AVILLA — Ralph “Jann” Jannuzzello, 67, of Avilla, died Jan. 31, 2019. He was a decorated military veteran and a longtime helicopter instruction who had a passion for flying, teaching and repairing classic cars. He was born in 1951 in Garmisch, Germany to Nunzio and Louise (Lawrence) Jannuzzello. The family moved to Florida where Jann graduated from Pensacola High School in 1969. The following year, on Oct. 27, 1970, he married Joyce Ransburg, who has been with him ever since. The couple had four children. Jann enlisted in the U.S. Army to go to helicopter flight training. After graduating from flight school, he was stationed in Vietnam where he flew Huey gunships. He was wounded and received a Purple Heart medal. He later served in Korea where he flew CH-47 Chinooks. Jann left the Army in 1979, but continued to serve the military. He spent the next 18 years as a civilian flight instructor at Fort Rucker, Alabama, teaching young Army helicopter pilots to fly. He also joined the Mississippi National Guard where he flew the CH 54 Skycrane. He retired as a Chief Warrant Officer 4 in 1997. Two years later, Jann moved to Indiana where he spent 16 years working at Colwell General in Kendallville. He retired in 2016. Throughout his life, Jann had a fondness for classic cars and other vehicles, and he loved repairing them, even old tractors. His first car, a 1951 Chevy, got him hooked. Jann and Joyce enjoyed going to car shows and museums whenever time allowed. Jann’s favorite vehicle was a 1965 Chevy truck- he rebuilt the engine and painted it teal blue. Lately he had been working on Joyce’s 1957 Chevy Bel Air station wagon.
Jann is survived by his wife of 48 years, Joyce. He also is survived by his children, Carmin (Richard) Odom of Arkansas; Rocky Jannuzzello of Tennessee; Nolan (Rachel) Jannuzzello of Georgia; Jesse (Crystal) Jannuzzello of Indiana; six grandchildren, Jacob and Auric Odom, Kevin Accornero, Asher Jannuzzello, Spencer Weed and Olivia Jannuzzello.
He will be greatly missed by his wife, his children, grandchildren, extended family and friends. He also will be missed by his four legged friends, including an assortment of cats and a family of opossums. The family had a private gathering of remembrance. Memorials may be sent to Decreased Aviator Family Assistance-River Rats, 12123 Shelbyville Road, Suite 100-179, Louisville, Kentucky, 40243-1079. Arrangements entrusted to Hite Funeral Home.