Arnold "Arnie" Earl Raffone, 81, of Lancaster, PA, passed away peacefully in his home on January 14, 2024, after a courageous battle with cancer. Arnie was a member of St. Leo the Great Church. Arnie was born in Staten Island, New York, on September 18th, 1942, to the late Ruth Lambertson Raffone and the late Arnold Earl Raffone.
In his youth, Arnie was an exceptional basketball player and, being a product of the rock and roll era, he had a lifelong love of dancing. He always said, "the girls love a guy who can dance."
After graduating high school, Arnie attended Seton Hall University where he received his Bachelor of Art and his Masters in American History with the intention of becoming a history teacher.
At the young age of 23, Arnie wed his lovely high school sweetheart, Linda, and landed his first appointment at Egbert Junior High School. He hungrily took on the roles of history teacher, basketball coach, and dean of students. He founded a Drug Awareness and Prevention program that became a model in the NYC public school system. He was the Co-founder and Director of United Activities Unlimited which was a Not-for-Profit Counseling and Recreation Program for Youth. He was a tireless champion for at risk students; gladly filling many roles in his students and players lives. It was not unusual to find a student or two on his family vacations at the beach.
Arnie's desire to serve at a greater capacity led him to obtain his P.D. in Administration and Supervision from St. John's University. He quickly rose the ranks to Assistant Principal then Principal. Arnie's career in the NYC public school system spanned over 37 years and several schools. He was known for his ability to take the helm of a struggling school and transform staff and students alike into a pinnacle of success. Teachers were honored to follow his lead and students made the honor roll so as not to disappoint him.
Arnie was also an adjunct professor at the graduate level at Seton Hall University where he taught administration and supervision courses. He enjoyed sharing his expertise and wisdom with a new generation of educational leaders.
Arnie retired from the NYC public school system in 2002 and moved to Lancaster, PA to join his daughter and son-in-law and their children. However, retirement did not suit him well.
He began his glorious second act with the School District of Lancaster where he was Principal of Reynolds Middle School for 6 years, Director of Secondary Education for the School District of Lancaster, Interim Principal at both Hand Middle School and J.P. McCaskey High School, Principal Support at Wheatland Middle School, and Principal Teacher Evaluator at Wyomissing High School.
Arnie dedicated his life to being an educator and advocate for children. He had the God given gift of loving other peoples' children as his own. He saw potential in each one no matter the depths it was obscured. Arnie believed in a holistic approach to raising great humans and believed talents outside of the classroom were just as important to development. He pushed for theater productions, band performances, art shows and of course his love of sports. He personally coached a basketball team every season for over 50 years. He instituted a graduation ceremony for his first graduating class at Reynolds Middle School and, at his own expense, purchased graduation gowns so no student had to walk across the stage without one. Over the years, he has received numerous messages from his success stories. Please know each one filled his soul with joy and meant more to him than his numerous awards. But, to name a few, his awards included: New York City Patrick Daly Educator of the Year (1998) and the Borough President's Award of Special Recognition of Service to Children (1987 & 1978).
All the while he was raising a family of his own. Arnie was a devoted father to his daughter, Tracy, and his son, David. Later he considered their spouses, Paul and Jaime, his own children.
Perhaps the greatest loves in his life were his 5 grandchildren -- Victoria, Lauren, Matthew, Mason, and Ella. His most beloved role was that of Grandad, which he embraced with great fervor. Arnie and his son-in-law Paul coached St. Leo's basketball for many years. Arnie was even lucky enough to share the bench with Tracy for a season or two. He and Linda were a fixture on every sideline, relishing the role of Mimom and Grandad to so many.
Arnie is survived by his wife Linda Florkiewicz Raffone, daughter Tracy Carroll and son-in-law Paul Carroll, son David Raffone and daughter-in-law Jaime Bourcier Raffone, grandchildren Tory Carroll Williams, Ian Williams, Lauren Carroll, Matthew Carroll, Mason Raffone, Ella Raffone, sister-in-law Lesley Hessert and numerous nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 AM on Friday, January 19, 2024 at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, 2427 Marietta Ave., Lancaster, PA. Interment will be private and held at the convenience of the family. Family and friends will be received from 6-9 PM on Thursday, January 18, 2024 at Charles F. Snyder III Funeral Home & Crematory, 2421 Willow Street Pike, Willow Street, PA and again at the church on Friday from 10-11 AM.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to ADVANTAGE LANCASTER c/o Mr Ty Bair 196 Zooks Mill Road, Ephrata, PA 17522 To send an online condolence, please visit: SnyderFuneralHome.com