Ralph Martinelli, a local publishing luminary who over 35 years led a successful magazine and event business in the Hudson Valley, died on Saturday at a care facility in New Rochelle. He passed peacefully, surrounded by his brothers, fiancée, and family members. He was 57.
For 16 months, Mr. Martinelli had been dealing with the aftereffects of a catastrophic brain injury and had battled valiantly to recover.
As a publisher, Mr. Martinelli created Westchester magazine, now in its 19th year. His vision and creativity were instrumental in creating and growing it into the iconic local brand it would become. In addition to flagship publication and the successful family of ancillary publications it would engender, he was also the driving force behind numerous long-running, immensely popular and still vibrant events like Best of Westchester, and Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Festival, including Burger & Beer Blast.
Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group shares, “Ralph showcased everything that was great and fun about experiencing food and wine in the Hudson Valley. He befriended chefs, winemakers and farmers and was a pioneer in showcasing the talents and quirks of his new friends in the pages of his beloved magazines. Ralph will always be remembered by me, first, as a friend but also as an integral advocate for living life to its fullest surrounded by family and friends, with great food and wonderful wines.”
Mr. Martinelli was a partner and vice-president in Today Media, the parent company of Westchester, a successful multi-platform publishing company in the print, digital, and events categories, along with his deceased father, Angelo, and brothers Robert and Richard. He was previously the publisher of Hudson Valley magazine, where he started his career in advertising sales in the 1980s while working with his brother Tom.
Elizabeth Braken-Thompson of Thompson & Bender says, “Ralph was a true visionary. He started with a print magazine and grew it into a multi-platformed lifestyle mega communications company that bridged digital, entertainment, social and print. He had that rare gift of being a true leader who recognized trends and shaped them in his own distinctive way and he did it with style, grace, and integrity. He left a lasting legacy for the Hudson Valley.”
Always a champion of charities and a patron of the arts and local restaurant scene, Mr. Martinelli was on the board of directors of Arts Westchester, Business Council of Westchester, and Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation. He was also instrumental in the company’s recent acquisition of The Valley Table and Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.
William R. Wehrman, COO of Today Media, states, “Many will remember Ralph as the indefatigable driving force behind one of the nation’s leading regional publishing enterprises. Those of us fortunate enough to have known him personally will cling to the memory of a kind, generous man with a big smile, a humble spirit and a helping hand. He loved family, friends and colleagues. He was called home too soon.”
Ralph attended Iona Prep in New Rochelle and Regis College in Denver, CO. He was an avid golfer and a great putter. In addition to being a travel enthusiast and connoisseur of fine wine, Ralph was a lifelong fan of the Mets, Knicks, and Denver Broncos. He also loved music and would see several live shows a year; bands like Dire Straits and Steely Dan were regularly on the playlist. He fondly remembered the days of Studio54 and Danceteria, with stories like sneaking into a sold-out Men at Work show at the height of the band’s popularity. Ralph split time between homes in Ossining and West Palm Beach, and enjoyed memberships at Westchester Country Club, Westchester Hills, and Mayacoo Golf Club.
Ralph A. Martinelli of Ossining, NY was born in 1962, grew up in Yonkers, as the youngest of six sons of former Yonkers Mayor, Angelo and Carol Martinelli. He is survived by five brothers, Michael, Paul, Robert, Richard, Thomas, and their wives, along with many nieces and nephews, and his fiancée, Halina Sabath.
The outpouring of calls and notes from people throughout his illness are a testament to the vast number of lives Ralph Martinelli had touched. He was roundly regarded as generous, compassionate, a great boss and colleague, the young uncle and pal to his nieces and nephews, and friend to the business community. Ralph was someone who never uttered a bad word about anyone, a lover of life and a bon vivant. He was dearly loved by so many and will be sorely missed.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to ArtsWestchester or Feeding Westchester. Visitation will be on Tuesday and Wednesday between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Waterbury & Kelly Funeral Home in Briarcliff Manor, with funeral services on Thursday morning at 11 a.m. at St. Theresa’s in Briarcliff Manor.
WATERBURY & KELLY FUNERAL HOME
1300 Pleasantville Road
Briarcliff Manor, New York 10510
To send flowers to Ralph's family, please visit our floral section.