Raymond Joseph Bagato

Raymond Joseph Bagato, third child of Auqalino (Eno) and Katherine Tortorici Bagato was born on April 6, 1936, in Chicago, Illinois. Ray was raised in the neighborhood known as Little Italy. On June 12, 1982, Ray and Judy McFarland were united in marriage at Hoiles’ Garden in Greenville, Illinois. At the age of 88, Ray died on June 5, 2024, at St. John’s Hospital, Springfield, Illinois, after sustaining a traumatic brain injury from a fall, weeks prior to his passing.

Ray was always creative. His interest in playing the drums was frowned upon by his hard-working immigrant family, but he dreamt of becoming a concert percussionist.

Since he was not allowed to pursue music academically, he received his informal education in Chicago jazz clubs and dive bars. In 1977, he obtained an Associate of Arts Degree from Lincoln Land College in Springfield, where he played in the college jazz band. Ray also played Latin percussion in a popular local jazz band known as Straight Life. Several family members have been blessed with works of art created by Ray.

Early in life, Ray worked as a barber in Chicago and Springfield. He always enjoyed cooking and was recruited to cook professionally when a friend opened a restaurant. He worked in several Springfield and St. Louis kitchens and later owned and operated Gourmet Pizza and Pasta in St. Louis and The Pantry Restaurant in Greenville. In retirement, Ray cooked weekly for the Greenville Commercial Club, assisted by his mother-in-law Vivian McFarland.

Ray became a father later than most men, but he loved his daughters beyond measure. He was so proud to see Este and Amy become strong, compassionate and intelligent young women. Every day you could find him playing jazz on the stereo with various percussion instruments at hand. He still enjoyed puttering around in the kitchen and was famous for his eggplant parmesan. If you saw an old guy wearing a beret out and about in Greenville, it was most likely Ray Bagato.

Ray was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Anthony Bagato, niece, Linda Bagato, father-in-law, Dale McFarland, and first wife, Carol Del Malva. Also deceased are all his Tortorici and Bagato aunts and uncles, whom he loved dearly.

Surviving Ray are his wife, Judy (McFarland) Bagato, daughters Este Bagato and Amelia ‘Amy’(Charles) Bagato Grandt, step-grandsons, Oliver and Chase Grandt, mother-in-law, Vivian McFarland, brother, Philip (Elizabeth) Bagato, brothers and sisters-in-law, Ellen Bagato, Roger and Jackie McFarland, Sue and Ed Gorline, and Randy and Jan McFarland. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins. Memorial donations may be directed to:

Miles Davis Scholarship Fund, 2809 College Ave, Alton, IL 62002

St. Louis Pet Rescue (stlpetrescue.com), PO Box 374, Valley Park, MO 63088 (They saved our dear Baron – best dog ever!)

Music Will (musicwill.org), PO Box 43369, Montclair, NJ 07043

GHS Music Boosters c/o Greenville High School, 1000 East Rt 140, Greenville, IL 62246

Carney’s Kids (carneyskids.org), 11469 Olive Blvd., Box 158, Creve Coeur, MO 63141

Ray’s wish was to be cremated. A Celebration of Life will be held on August 4, 2024, at the Old Mill, 596 IL Rt 127, Greenville, IL 62246. Toast at 1 pm, lunch to follow.

The family has entrusted Assalley-Young Funeral Home in Greenville to assist with the
ceremony.

Please visit www.assalleyfuneralhomes.com to share memories or offer condolences to
the family.

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