COLUMBIANA, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Rafael Francisco Juliano, affectionately known as “Chunk,” left this world on Thursday, October 19, 2023, leaving behind cherished memories and a void that will be felt by all who knew him. At the age of 44, Rafael’s time with us was cut tragically short due to brain cancer but his impact on the lives he touched will forever endure.

Rafael was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He moved to the United States as an exchange student at age 17. He attended Avonworth High School, where he excelled academically and formed lifelong friendships that would shape his journey. After high school, Rafael pursued his passion for computer science, graduating from Thiel College with a Bachelor’s degree in 2000.  He enjoyed his time at Thiel College, playing soccer for the Tomcats, and joining the brotherhood of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. 

He subsequently resided in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Williamsburg, Virginia and Poland, Ohio, where he was always active in the communities he resided in by volunteering his time to better the lives of others.

Throughout his professional career, Rafael made significant contributions as a software engineer, working for tech giants Amazon and Twitter. His expertise and innovation in the field were admired by colleagues and earned him the respect of his peers. Rafael’s unwavering commitment to his work and his ability to adapt to the ever-evolving landscape of technology made him a true trailblazer in the industry.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Rafael was a loving son, devoted spouse and proud father. He was the cherished son of Celeste and Francisco Juliano, who instilled in him the values of integrity, compassion and hard work. He was loved and revered by his sisters, Cica and Andrea Juliano and loved immensely by his niece, Nina. Rafael shared a deep bond with his beloved wife, Melinda Morrow, whose unwavering support and companionship were the pillars of his life. Together, they created a nurturing and loving home for their two children, daughter, Paige (17) and son, Jayden (15), who will forever carry their father’s legacy in their hearts.  

Mindy’s family adored Raf and took him in as one of their own.  In his last fight to continue life on this earth, he was additionally surrounded by Grandpa Pete, Grandma Judy, Grandma Ruth, Melissa, Shannon, Alex, Uncle Ray, Aunt Kay, Brian, Grandma Shirley, Grandpa Robert, Aunt Debbie and Uncle Dave, as well as many others who contributed to making his life whole as he slowly transitioned into his next journey. 

Rafael had a passion for sports and he was an ardent fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Steelers. He could often be found enthusiastically cheering for his beloved teams, displaying an unwavering loyalty and dedication that mirrored his own character. Rafael’s love for sports was contagious and he took great joy in sharing his enthusiasm with family and friends, creating lasting memories and unforgettable experiences.

In Rafael Francisco Juliano, we remember a remarkable man who embraced life with zest and brought a genuine warmth and humor to those around him. His radiant smile, quick wit and compassionate nature will forever be etched in our hearts. Though he may no longer be physically present, his spirit will continue to guide and inspire us as we navigate the path ahead.

A memorial visitation to celebrate Rafael’s life will be held at Warrick-Kummer-Rettig Funeral Home at 28 North Main Street, Columbiana, Ohio on Sunday, October 22 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Family, friends and all those whose lives were touched by Rafael are invited to attend and share their memories of a remarkable individual who made a profound impact during his time on Earth.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made in Rafael’s honor to the Mahoning County Society of St Vincent Depaul, a local food pantry and homeless shelter, as he was passionate about giving back to his community and helping those in need.

Rafael Francisco Juliano will forever be remembered as a loving husband, devoted father, cherished son and loyal friend. May his soul find eternal peace and may his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.

Family and friends may watch the memorial picture video and send condolences to the family by visiting

A television tribute will air Sunday, October 22 at the following approximate times: 6:27 p.m. on WYTV and 6:58 p.m. on MyYTV. Video will be posted here the day of airing.