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Petaluma dairyman Ralph Bettinelli dies

  • Sonoma County Fair President Ralph Bettinelli is seen with granddaughter Connie Jones,4-H Reserve Grand Champion winner, before the start of a hog sale at the Sonoma County Fair Junior Livestock Auction in 2008. (Press Democrat file)

Ralph Bettinelli, longtime Petaluma dairyman and Sonoma County Fair Board director, died this week while on a trip to Scotland.

Bettinelli, 75, had traveled there to see one of his grandchildren compete in an international dairy judging competition.

He died either in surgery or following surgery, according to a relative, James Fremgen of Petaluma.

Bettinelli was on the Fair Board for more than 15 years, including as chairman. As a teenager, he showed Guernsey cattle at the fair.

Bettinelli was a third-generation Petaluma dairyman, who ran a dairy on the Old Adobe Road ranch where he was born and raised.

He and his late wife, Connie, raised five children on the 300-acre dairy ranch.

All of their children were active in 4-H and Future Farmers of America, exhibiting livestock at the Sonoma County Fair. His granddaughter, Jessie Jones, was one of four Petaluma FFA members who advanced to the competition in Edinburgh.

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