John F. Raffo passed away peacefully in his home in Weston on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, surrounded by family. He was 93.
Born on February 12, 1929 in Turin, Province of Piedmont, Italy, he was a son of the late Carlo and Rina (Gianino) Raffo. John was raised in Italy and educated at the Italian Naval Academy in Livorno and Polytechnic University of Turin, where he graduated with a Doctorate in electrical engineering.
On April 11, 1953 John and Laura de Grazia married in Turin. The two met in primary school and shared 80 loving years together, before her passing in 2020. They first immigrated to the United States in 1964 for three years, after which they spent another decade in Italy.
John started his career in 1952 as a senior design engineer at Radiotelevisione Italiana, Italian television Authority in Rome. During his time in Rome, he was a key part of the development of early television in Italy. In 1955 he became Chief Engineer, computer development, at Olivetti in Milan.
Taking the position of General Manager, operations, at Honeywell in Wellesley, Massachusetts in 1964 would bring John and Laura to the United States for the first time. John's position at Honeywell brought them back to Italy after three years, now working from their Milan location. In Italy he served as General Manager, Singer Business Machines in Milan from 1968 to 1974, and Managing Director at Otis Elevator, Inc. from 1974 to 1976. It was during this time that John was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, the highest ranking honor of the Republic, awarded for "merit acquired by the nation" and for long and conspicuous service in civilian and military careers.
John and Laura settled permanently in Weston, Massachusetts, in 1977 when he became a Vice President at Inforex in Burlington. In 1978 he moved to Wang Laboratories, serving as Vice President, office information systems, and in 1982 became the President of Leading Edge Products Inc. in Canton, Massachusetts.
After a long and successful career in the technology business, he found great fulfilment sharing his years of experience and knowledge with others. In 1986 he became an Associate Professor, business policies, at Boston University. This was a natural progression for John, as he was always looked to by others for advice and reason. He would teach his students the values he embodied and believed they would need to be successful: curiosity, intelligence and open mindedness. He was happiest solving a problem or telling a story and his sharp wit and sense of humor made him easy listening. His keen engineer's ability to determine the root cause of things, from complex business problems to people's characters and values made him not only a great engineer and executive, but also a great educator, father, grandfather and friend.
John also enjoyed the time he spent in the two homes he designed, one in Carimate, Italy and one in West Falmouth, USA, especially when he had the company of his wife, daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
In addition to his wife Laura, John leaves his daughters, Luisella Raffo (Michael Jones) of Weston and Carla Raffo (Antony Withers) of London, United Kingdom; his grandchildren, Laura Cipolla, Henry J. Cipolla, Richard R. Cipolla (Maureen French), John R. Withers (Priyanka Agrawal), Edward A. Withers and Charles N. Withers (Ashley McGuire); his great-grandchildren, Leo Cipolla and Chance Antony Withers and cousins from the Raffo and Gianino families.
Funeral services for John will be private.
Memorial donations may be made to Brigham and Women's Hospital, 116 Huntington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02116 or Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA 02215.