Ida Riforgiato, family founded prominent businesses - The Buffalo News

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Ida Riforgiato, family founded prominent businesses

Sept. 15, 1918 – Nov. 13, 2013

Ida Riforgiato, a member of a pioneering Buffalo business family, died Wednesday in Beechwood Continuing Care, Getzville. She was 95.

Born in Buffalo, the former Ida Ragusa attended Bryant & Stratton Business Institute and worked as a legal secretary before she married Louis Battaglia.

After her father’s death, he joined her family’s hardware business, which became the foundation for Valu Home Centers.

Her husband and her brother, Anthony Ragusa, went on to build the first drive-in movie theaters in the area – the Transit Drive-In and the Twin Drive-In – and were the founding partners in the Twin Fair discount department store chain.

After her husband died in 1972, she married Stephen Riforgiato in 1978. They spent winters in Florida. He died in 1990.

Mrs. Riforgiato traveled extensively in the U.S. and abroad. She had an audience with Pope John Paul II and 89 took a Caribbean cruise with her daughter at 89.

In addition to traveling, she enjoyed playing bridge and Scrabble, reading biographies, knitting and crossword puzzles. A member of St. Gregory the Great Senior Citizens group, she was an avid Bills and Sabres fan.

Survivors include a son, Ronald J.; a daughter, Maria B. DiMenna; nine grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 6919 Transit Road, Swormville.

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