BUFFALO, NY — Ralph Anthony Coppola, founder of Innovative Concepts in Entertainment Inc., one of the amusement industry’s largest arcade game manufacturers, died suddenly on Dec. 28. He was 70. Ralph will be remembered as a honorable gentleman, with a kind soul, and generous heart.
Coppola was born and raised in Orchard Park, NY, and educated in the Jesuit tradition. He graduated from Canisius High School in 1966 where he played basketball and baseball, and recently served on the school’s board of trustees. He received a degree in accounting at Canisius College (Buffalo) in 1970 and a law degree from University of Buffalo in 1974.
A natural entrepreneur with a strong work ethic, Coppola started a company, along with Jack Willert, that would eventually become one of the world’s largest arcade game producers. Innovative Concepts in Entertainment, simply known as ICE today, was founded in 1982 when it introduced Super Chexx Bubble Hockey. ICE would go on to build more than 150 arcade games. Today, the company operates out of a state-of-the-art factory in Clarence, NY, where it still builds bubble hockey games alongside hit commercial arcade games that are placed in thousands of family entertainment facilities around the world.
Coppola was known for his quiet philanthropy and generosity, his official obituary stated. This was evident through local charity events that auctioned his legendary bubble hockey games to raise funds for Make a Wish, American Heart Association, schools and churches, among many other organizations. Coppola’s obituary also noted the strong Jesuit influence in his life and career, which made him an example to his family, and a mentor to many associates and friends in the amusement industry. Ralph put family first in every decision he made and everything he did. He enjoyed gathering the family together at various locations each year, creating lasting memories we can always cherish. Ralph was passionate about his family and his friends. He was always sharing stories and laughs at 7-11, Tim Hortons, Eckl’s, or wherever he was.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Suzanne M. (nee McMahon) Coppola; children Joseph (Carolyn), Marcy, Lori (Michael) Walter and Daniel (Jennifer); grandchildren Ryan, Carly, Gracie, Lily, Brady, Tess and Jackson; and sisters, a brother, nieces and nephews.
If desired, memorials can be made to the Ralph Coppola Scholarship Fund c/o Canisius High School. Condolences can be made at www.amigone.com.