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July 18, 2006 > Hard-Working Immigrant Family

Hard-Working Immigrant Family

The Ramacciottis

Mike Ramacciotti came from Italy in 1922 and worked for ranchers in the Delta. His future wife, Anita, emigrated from Italy a year later. She worked in a laundry in Lodi. Mike and Anita met in Stockton and were married in 1925. Mike raised pigs and then operated a bar in Lodi. They had four children, all born in the Stockton-Lodi area: Armondo in 1926, Velma in 1930, Roy in 1932, and Dino in 1936.

The family moved to Hayward in 1938 where Mike worked in a foundry. They all pitched in to raise pigs in a barn behind the house. Armondo would pick up garbage to feed the pigs before classes at Hayward High School. They moved to East Oakland in 1940, and Mike started a pig farm in San Lorenzo.

In World War II, Armondo joined the Army and fought in Germany. Roy's service in the Marines included combat in the Korean War. Both boys survived and each eventually became partners with their dad in the pig farm.

Velma worked for Gerber Baby Food and Shine Biscuit in Oakland and cut apricots in Hayward.

In 1948, Mike and his sons purchased 24 acres on Cushing Road in south Fremont. The property included an old house and a hay barn. The family built additional barns and pens and expanded until they were running 2,000 pigs and 100 head of cattle.

Mike moved from raising food to preparing it when he opened "Italian Village" in Niles in 1954. Locals today know this same place as "Papillion."

Youngest child, Dino grew up in East Oakland. During his years at Elmhurst Junior High and Castlemont High School, he worked at various times in a grocery store, shoe shop and truck body shop. He plucked turkeys in season and he also built and cleaned pig pens. When he got his driver's license he began hauling garbage and cannery waste from Del Monte Cannery in San Leandro and Booth Cannery in Centerville.

The family moved to a Glenmoor home in Centerville in 1952 and Dino graduated from Washington Union High School two years later. After graduating, Dino went to work for Fisher Body in Oakland and then for AT&T until he became a partner with his dad in the pig business at their Independent Hog Ranch.

In 1957, Dino married Joyce Correa of Oakland. Her parents operated Clairtone Kennels in Oakland, and she was a graduate of Castlemont High School. She worked for a dentist in Oakland and then for Dr. Walter Dang in Centerville. The young couple purchased their first home in Cabrillo Park for $12,500 in 1958. Their son Tony was born at Mt. Eden hospital in Castro Valley (there was no hospital in Centerville at that time). Their son Mike was born two years later at Washington Hospital.

Tony and Mike attended Mattos Elementary School, then Centerville Jr. High and graduated from Washington High School. They were very active in both school and local sports. Tony graduated from San Jose State and now lives in Sacramento with his wife Loni and sons Anthony and Dominic. Mike graduated from Ohlone College and now lives in Redlands with his wife Jacquie, daughter Kelly and sons Michael and Bryon.

Dino and Joyce purchased a new Glenmoor home in 1961 where they still live. Dino and Roy quit the hog farm and eventually sold the land which became the site of Lam Research. Dino worked for Blaze Neon in Fremont, Ad Art Sign Co. in Oakland, and became a union electrician for Local 595 until he retired in 1997.

From the age of 16 when he bought his first car, Dino has been a performance enthusiast. While part of the Fremont Stockers car club, he purchased a new 1957 Chevrolet pickup truck that he raced at the Little Bonneville track in San Jose until it closed.

He fondly recalls racing at Fremont Drag Strip which opened in 1958 and eventually became Baylands Raceway Park until it closed in the late '80s. It was nationally renowned for its sprint car and motorcycle racing. In addition, drag racers came from all over the United States to compete there.

Even on water, Dino and his pals loved a good race. They went so far as to dig a pond along Highway 17 where they raced drag boats. The dirt they piled on the sides of the pond prevented highway drivers from seeing the water. Dino says they would glance over from the road and think they were seeing boats racing on land! This brand of fun only lasted about two years though. Eventually the pond was drained and refilled with dirt.

Once a member of Nor-Cal Early Iron, a Fremont-based club, Dino now belongs to Bay Area Roadsters. They have about 30 members who own roadsters dating back to the early '30s. Dino's pride and joy is a 1932 Ford Roadster that he has owned for over 40 years and driven over 100,000 miles. He raced it at the Fremont Drag Strip when it opened and still uses the roadster in parades and shows.

"Hard working immigrant families" may be a clichˇ, but like the Ramacciottis, they have forged a solid place in the history and progress of this United States of America, by virtue of their willingness to work hard at any task or job they encounter. Their place in history is well-earned.

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