Ralph Cerreta, better known around town as Tony Cerreta, last Monday night on his home street of Farmingville Road. Those who knew Cerreta say he was a man who cared deeply about Ridgefield, was a pleasure to work with and a father who loved his children. He is remembered as being an active community member with a humble and sincere kindness.
“He was always trying to help other people. He was a real class act,” said Bill Wyman, President of the Ridgefield Rotary Club and friend of the deceased.
Cerreta had worked in waste management for over 30 years according to a 2008 article from the News Times. He had owned the Ridgefield-based Cerreta Trashing Company before moving on to the recycling management business Winter Bros in Danbury during the last few years. During his tenure there, Cerreta represented Winter Bros on the board of directors at the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Ridgefield Rotary Club.
“He was a delight to work with and a big supporter of anything that supported the town,” said Executive Director Marion Roth. “He reached out to new members and he would engage the chamber with new ideas. He wasn’t just focused on his own business; he would promote programs that would invite other businesses to be involved in the community and to get people to shop here.”
At meetings, Cerreta would forgo formalities in his introductions.
“He was so unpretentious…he would stand up and introduce himself as ‘the garbage man’” while everyone else stated their full title, said Roth. Because of this, neither Wyman nor Roth knew Certta’s official position at Winter Bros although Roth said he held “a high position” there. Patch contacted Winter Bros but the phone call was not returned.
“He always played himself down. He referred to himself as ‘the trash guy’, never put on the airs,” said Wyman.
“He was very real and he liked dealing with people who were real and genuine,” said Roth.
Aside from being an active community member, Cerreta was described as a loving father. At the end of Rotary Club meetings, members would recall what they made them happy that week and Cerreta often mentioned his children.
“He always shared their accomplishments with us. He absolutely loved his kids,” said Wyman.
“He was a dedicated father and cared very, very much for his children,” said Roth.
Roth said that Cerreta enjoyed company and was a sociable, fun person who “had a great sense of humor” and was “a lot of fun” to be with.
A former friend and longtime Ridgefielder had this to say about the recently deceased:
“I have lived in Ridgefield for over 25 years and have numerous acquaintances, but few true friends. Tony was a true friend. Always up for a prank and making jokes about almost anything, but always there when it came to his family and friends. His passing is everyone’s loss, but I will truly miss him,” said friend Alex Karsanidi.
“It was a pleasure having tony as part of the organization. He will be sorely missed,” said Wyman.
“We will miss tony immensely and our hearts go out to our children. His thoughts, his actions and his heart were genuine and we will miss him immensely,” said Roth.