Hugo Joseph Rungo Sr.

Hugo Joseph Rungo Sr.

New York, USA
Death 9 Jan 1993 (aged 83)
Harrison County, Mississippi, USA
Burial Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi, USA
Memorial ID 97713468 · View Source
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Hugo J. Rungo (1909-1993) was born in New York and spent his formative years on Staten Island, Richmond County, New York. It appears that Hugo's father died young leaving his mother, Hugo, and John Rungo (1911-1997), a brother. Mrs. Stephana Rungo married Walter Biernacki, a Polish immigrant, and had two more sons: Walter Biernacki Jr. (b. 1920) and Joseph Biernacki (1923-1994), both born on Staten Island, New York.

Hugo J. Rungo married Ruth Ratel (1914-1995) on October 3, 1931 in Richmond County, New York. They were the parents of: Hugo J. Rungo Jr. (1932-2008). At this time, Mr. Rungo made his livelihood as a draftsman.

Hugo came to Keesler Field in 1944 and after his military discharge was finalized in 1946 decided to make his home on the Coast. He and Ruth divorced in May 1948 in Harrison County, Mississippi. Hugo then married Muriel Ruth Harman (1917-1981) on November 23, 1950 in Harrison County, Mississippi. Ruth was born at Westminister, Maryland.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Circuit Court MRB 83, p. 468)

Ruth Harman Rungo (1917-1981), 208 Croesus Street, expired in the Biloxi Hospital on March 1981. She had been a Biloxi resident for 31 years. Besides Hugo, Ruth was survived by two brothers, Stuart E. Harman at Newark, Delaware and Carl G. Harman in Upper Marlborough, Maryland; three sisters, Thelma [Harry A.] Melown, Westminister, Maryland; Erma [Howard] Stultz, New Windsor, Maryland; and Truth [Ralph] Buffington, Union Bridge, Maryland. Mrs. Rungo's corporal remains were sent by Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral to the Fletcher Funeral Home at Westminister, Maryland for her funeral and internment in the Meadow Branch Cemetery at Westminister, Maryland.(The Daily Herald, March 23, 1981, p. A-2)

Mr. Hugo Rungo married Gladys Abilene Gilbreath (1928-1981) on April 16, 1981 in Harrison County, Mississippi.(Harrison Co., Mississippi 2nd Judicial District Circuit Court MRB 22, p. 114)

Hugo Rungo had observed that there were no Italian restaurants in the area and commenced to save money to open a local eatery. In 1951, Hugo was ready to become a Biloxi restaurateur. His first eatery was in an alley where the Biloxi Regional Hospital now exists. He later moved to West Division Street and Porter Avenue.

"He tried to get backing but he was told, 'Pizza pie? Who ever heard of Pizza pie? He proved everybody wrong", Hugo J. Rungo Jr. of Biloxi said Sunday. During the 1960s and 1970s, Hugo's Restaurant became the 'in' spot teenagers and families. "After football games the place was wild," Rungo said. "About 100 to 150 kids would come piling in. They all enjoyed themselves."

Perry Ransom Jr. (1929-2003) of Ocean Springs knew the senior Rungo for 25 years and related that: "Hugo had a heart as big as his body. He's do anything for anybody at any time. He'd never hesitate. He will be missed, but he will also be remembered." Ransom was a regular customer at Hugos and recalls the lines outside of the restaurant. "It's hard to describe how family people from Pass Christian and Pascagoula would come to get one of Hugo's pizzas. They's stand in line for hours to get a table."

Hugo J. Rungo Jr. credits the popularity of his father's restaurant to its ambience and affordability. "It was a nice, clean, family type place," he said. "People knew they could come in with their kids and have an enjoyable meal. We kept the price low." My father always said: "Make a little often. Don't try to make a whole bunch at once."

Besides being the place to hangout in its heyday, some say that the French dressing-on-pizza craze was original to Hugo's. "French dressing was kept on the tables and when it was not, customers started to ask for it," Rungo said. "I remember one airman came in and asked for some 'liquid cheese' to go with his pizza. He didn't realize that it was French dressing."

Hugo J. Rungo was a life member of Biloxi Elks Lodge No. 606 and worshiped at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in west Biloxi. He was survived by Ruth Esther Ratel Ringo (1914-1995), his wife of Biloxi, whom he remarried in December 1983; Hugo J. Rungo Jr. (1932-2008), a son, of Biloxi; Christal Thortan, a daughter at Hattiesburg, Mississippi; two brothers, John Rungo (1911-1997) of West Palm Beach, Florida and Joseph Biernacki (1923-1994) of Cateret, New Jersey; six grandchildren; and four great grandchildren.

Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home of Biloxi directed Hugo's funeral from its Howard Avenue chapel. Internment was in the Southern Memorial Park cemetery in Biloxi, Mississippi.


The Daily Herald, 'Tasty food, good service at Hugo's Italian Restaurant', January 28, 1967, p. 5.

The Daily Herald, 'Mrs. Muriel Ruth Rungo', March 23, 1981, p. A-2.

The Sun Herald, 'Hugo J. Rungo', January 11, 1993, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, 'Hugo will be missed for more than his pizza', January 11, 1993, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, 'Ruth Rungo', March 26, 1995, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, 'Hugo J. Rungo Jr', April 6, 2008.

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  • Created by: raoul
  • Added: 24 Sep 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 97713468
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Hugo Joseph Rungo Sr. (20 Feb 1909–9 Jan 1993), Find a Grave Memorial no. 97713468, citing Southern Memorial Park, Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi, USA ; Maintained by raoul (contributor 47260853) .