Ruthanne Lodato Funeral: Hundreds of Family, Friends Gather to Say Goodbye

Mother of three and music teacher died Feb. 6 after shooting at her Alexandria home. The assailant is still at large.

Hundreds gathered Saturday morning at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church for the funeral of Ruthanne Lodato. Photo by Nikki Kahn / POOL
Hundreds gathered Saturday morning at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church for the funeral of Ruthanne Lodato. Photo by Nikki Kahn / POOL
An estimated 800 friends and family members gathered Saturday morning at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Alexandria for the funeral mass of Ruthanne Lodato, a mother of three and music teacher well-known in the Alexandria community who died Feb. 6.

Lodato died after being shot by an unknown assailant at her door at Ridge Road Drive. The incident has stunned the local community and a police investigation is ongoing.

"Ruthanne was one of those people in all of our lives, who actually does what the rest of us talk about doing and makes our lives so much better as a result," said Joan Gartlan, an old classmate and friend who had known Lodato since the two were 14-year-old freshmen students at St. Mary's Academy, "just a little over a mile from where we are today." 

Lodato left behind her husband Norman Lodato, and three daughters: Lucia Lodato, Gina Pelusi and Carmen Lodato; also, her parents Mary Lucy Giammittorio and the late Hon. George M. Giammittorio. Her brother Eugene Robert Giammittorio is a retired Alexandria General District Court judge. She had two other brothers, Gregory, a securities lawyer in McLean and David, a physician in Alexandria.

"Normie, Lucia, Gina and Carmen have described Ruthanne as the rock of their family," Gartlan said. "I think Ruthanne was everyone's rock."

Gartlan described her lifelong friend as someone "who was involved in everything," beginning in their high school days. "She was in the modern dance club, a cheerleader and in all the musicals at Bishop Ireton High School."
All three of Lodato's daughters attended Blessed Sacrament School, adjacent to the church, where Lodato taught music for 10 years.

Those eulogizing Lodato in the hour-and-a-half long service that got underway after 10 a.m. Saturday included Gartlan, as well as Mark Mrini, head pastor, Del Ray United Methodist Church and John Kelly, a neighbor and close family friend. Father Cregan, pastor at Blessed Sacrament, officiated at the funeral mass.

Lodato had played the organ at Blessed Sacrament, where she was a parishioner. She was director of Music Together Alexandria, which often held classes at Del Ray United Methodist.

The procession music for Lodato's funeral featured "Sing with All the Saints in Glory." The recessional music performed was "We will Rise Again," by David Haas.

Some friends and family wore lapel pins of clouds in the shape of a musical note, given out Friday night at a wake held the night before the funeral. Many friends, family members and music students changed their Facebook photos to the image after the Feb. 6 shooting.

Family and friends visited for about an hour after the funeral ended at about 11:30 a.m. Lodato was to be buried Saturday at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria in a private service. In lieu of flowers, the family was requesting that gifts be made to two local charities.

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