In recent years, a handful of Norma's classmates from Winter Park High School would gather regularly for dinner, often at our nostalgic Dubsdread Country Club where we held our prom dance over 60 years ago. Of course, Norma has never changed—she's always been the sweetest and most loving friend. We all came to further know and love Ralph during these happy get-togethers. Some of us would also visit Ralph and Norma at their home in the North Carolina mountains. We develop quite a bond over these recent years, especially with Ralph and Norma having to go through the loss of their two sons and grandson.
On visits to our home, Ralph would mention that my wife Pat's collection of figurines was gathering dust. In a day or two, he would bring over a beautiful, hand made curio cabinet. That was just Ralph's way of telling friends he appreciated them. Strong-willed, extremely talented, brilliant, a perfectionist, a bit of a cynic, but at the same time one of the funniest guys I have known. Ralph loved to joke—and he had hundreds of delightful stories.
But Ralph was also very loving and kind to so many folks. He was a kind of wholesome, true man that we might have met in an earlier century in this country. Ralph was special and we probably won't be seeing much of his kind in the future. His was a class act.