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Obituary: Ricky Buongiorno, Feb. 3, 1956 - Jan. 6, 2024

For The Madera Tribune

Ricky Buongiorno.


Ricky Buongiorno was a lifelong resident of Madera, born to parents Rick Buongiorno and Dolores Gardini (Buongiorno) on Feb. 3, 1956. Ricky passed away at home on Jan. 6, 2024, after a long struggle with COPD. 

Early on he developed a love for the High Sierras where he worked as a packer for Johnny Jones Pack Station at Mugler Meadow, and the National Park Service, in Yosemite National Park. Many a day he led a pack train of mules, laden with supplies, and tourists to the High Sierra camps. He was a well-liked and respected cowboy by the packers of the area. Later on, he was an accomplished carpenter working in construction having a hand in building many of the Western Homes in the area. 

At a young age he could be found with a few of his neighboring buddies riding calves, only to be ran off by the parents of those friends, as they were trying to fatten those calves up, and those boys were bucking the fat right off of them. 

Those early days led to Ricky becoming a Champion Bull Rider. He became 2-time California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association, Bull Riding Champion in 1984 and 85, and the Silver State, Nevada, Bull Riding Champion in 1983, along with winning numerous Trophy Buckles and Saddles at Rodeos all across the State. He was also, one of the best hands at breaking and training many young horses in the area. 

After the Rodeo days, as a good all-around cowboy, he still had a competitive spirit, and competed in Team Roping, Team Penning and Team sorting for many years. 

He was preceded in death by his father, Rick Buongiorno, his brother, Joseph, and his beloved Aunt Norma Hickman just a week before. 

He is survived by his life partner, Ladonna Jones, daughter Summer Buongiorno Hittle, of Molalla, Oregon; son Blake Buongiorno of Escalon, California; Mother Dolores Gardini of Tillamook, Oregon; brother Tim and his wife Stephanie, of Tillamook, Oregon; brother Ken of Madera, California; sister Jackie, of Fresno, California; three grandchildren, one great grandchild, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. 

A Celebration of Life will be planned in the future. 

Donations may be made to the Holy Family Table Soup Kitchen, Madera Rescue Mission, or charity of choice.



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