Ronald Patnosh, former athletic director and founder of St. Raymond High School For Boys baseball program, died Friday, September 19. He was 76.
Patnosh, a Queens native, started his St. Raymond’s career in 1962, two years after the school first opened its doors. For 45 years, he coached both the JV baseball and varsity baseball teams and lead them to win 1,080 games during his legendary career. Patnosh was instrumental in the Ravens achieving two city championship victories in 1980 and 1989. According to Frank Eisele, president of the Throgs Neck Little League board of directors, Patnosh frequently recruited many of the league’s members for his team and ultimately emerged victorious in their first city championship win. “He mentored a lot of kids,” said Eisele. “Ron was respected by everyone.”
He continued as head coach until retiring in spring 2010 after his team won the city championship’s semi finals. Patnosh was the proud recipient of the Sportsmanship Award by the Catholic High School Athletic Association and was inducted into the St. Raymond’s Hall of Fame by principal, Brother Daniel Gardner and athletic director, Benjamin Aguirre in May.
Aguirre shared memories of the late Patnosh who he knew since he was 12. “He was part of its foundation,” said Aguirre. “He was always enthusiastic about St. Raymond’s, passionate about the boys, and feisty. He was always real with you and never minced words.”
In addition to athletics, Patnosh’s credentials included serving as an assistant principal for 15 years, a teacher of Global History, the chairman of the History Department, and moderator of the History Club. “He dedicated his whole life to the boys here at St. Raymond’s,” said Aguirre.
St. Raymond’s coach Marc DeLuca remembers his friend as being “a very prominent coach in the area” and well known for his competitiveness on game day.
“He would do anything for anyone especially for his players and his students. He was like a second dad to them,” said DeLuca. “He was never married and didn’t have a family of his own, but he had a St. Raymond’s family.”
After retirement, Patnosh continued supporting the school’s student athletes and academic community. Even nearing his final days, he retained his charismatic personality. Despite health concerns, “he was in good spirits,” recalled Aguirre who saw and spoke with his predecessor at last Friday’s varsity game.
As he did in life, Patnosh’s death has had a tremendous impact upon the entire St. Raymond’s community. “He was our heart and soul,” said Aguirre. “When they think about St. Raymond’s, they think of Ron Patnosh.”
One local St. Raymond’s alum, Robert Gaspari, the owner of Loretta’s Pizzeria was saddened by Patnosh’s death. “He was a lot of help to the school and to the students,” said Gaspari. “He was a great guy and served almost as a mentor to us. He was really someone you could look up to.”
A Class of 1978 alum, Gaspari played for four years as the Raven’s first baseman and pitcher during the Patnost era. “He knew everything about the game and he was one a really tough cookie,” said Gaspari. “He really put his heart and soul into the game every time.”
Patnost was survived by his sister, Mary Ellen Storniola and his nieces, Stephanie and Kim. In lieu of flowers, his family requested donations be made instead to the Ronald Patnosh Foundation, dedicated to the care of St. Raymond’s.
A memorial service was held in St. Raymond High School For Boys Gymnasium on Monday, September 22 and a funeral Mass was conducted the following morning. Over 1,000 people were in attendance to bid him a final farewell.
“He was the one who built everything and was responsible for the school’s success,” said DeLuca. “You know you’re important when they move the venue from a church to a gym.”