Ralph Coppola, one of coin-op’s most talented and productive game makers, passed away from a massive heart attack the morning of Dec. 28, three days after Christmas. He was 70 years of age and in otherwise good health due to his athletic lifestyle.
The company he established back in 1982 in the Buffalo area to produce the original Chexx hockey table became one of the industry’s leading providers of such hits as the iconic Cyclone redemption piece and perhaps as many as 150 other games that ran from ski alleys like Ice Ball to new and inventive novelties like Waterfuls.
ICE machines not only proved to be worthy money-makers for operators, but were structurally durable as a result of Coppola’s high standards and those of his company’s designers, engineers and production staffers. What began as an unknown little company making a “bubble hockey game” developed into one of the amusement business powerhouses of the highest level.
Catholic funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow (Jan. 3) at St. Michael’s Church in Buffalo. He is survived by his wife (of nearly 50 years) Suzanne, sons Joe and Dan (both of whom are executives at ICE), daughters Marcy and Lori, and seven grandchildren.
“What a lot of people never knew was that Ralph was a lawyer before he came into the games business,” said RePlay publisher Eddie Adlum. “Hasn’t it been grand that he made the switch!” May he rest in God’s peace.