Ralph Wesley Clampitt (1931 - 2017)

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  • "I was fortunate to have worked with Ralph for many years..."
    - Leslie Hepburn
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    - Sandy Jones
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Ralph Wesley Clampitt, 86, passed away peacefully at home on Aug. 12, 2017, after a long illness. His wife of 42 years, Sally, was at his side. All who knew Ralph knew what a kind, gentle, warm soul he was. He touched many of us with his quiet, thoughtful ways. Ralph was born on Jan. 17, 1931, in Dexter, Iowa, one of three children born to Wesley David and Evelyn Atwood Clampitt. He served honorably for four years in the Air Force, received a degree in Architecture from Tulane University in 1960, and then a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning at Texas A&M.
Ralph and Sally met riding the B&M commuter train from Gloucester to Boston, Mass., and were married in 1975. Their blended family included four daughters and a son from Ralph's previous marriage, and a daughter from Sally's. Ralph loved sailing, and while living in Gloucester he co-owned a 42 foot wooden ketch. Nothing pleased him more than loading it up with all the kids to go clamming, fishing, watching the Fourth of July fireworks, or just puttering around Gloucester Harbor and beyond.
Ralph's architectural career spanned many projects in many places over the years - in Alaska, the Lower 48 and abroad. His experience also included teaching architecture at Texas A&M, the University of Michigan and a year at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Moving to Alaska in 1985 was a highlight of Ralph's career. For a brief period during their first two years here, in a downturned economy, Ralph enjoyed serving as interim Director at the newly constructed William Clark Chamberlin Equestrian Center in Anchorage. There, he developed many of the Center's early facilities, trails and events that became a foundation for the Center as it exists today. In 1987, he joined Kumin Associates Inc., where he loved practicing architecture until he retired in 2010. Just a few of Ralph's favorite design projects included buildings for the University of Alaska, Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage School District, Providence Hospital and various communities across the state.
With children grown and on their own, he and Sally purchased a 32 foot sloop that Ralph and his son-in-law sailed from Port Townsend, Wash., to Seward, Alaska. That was one of six such trips he made helping others sail to Alaska. "Rail under!" on a windy day was no problem for Ralph. He loved those trips! He served on the board of the William H. Seward Yacht Club, and shared his fascination and knowledge of celestial navigation by providing workshops for fellow sailing enthusiasts. Ralph loved animals, and over the years he and Sally were active in various animal welfare organizations. Their home was always shared with a variety of beloved four-footed companions, several of which could usually be found piled up on his lap in front of the wood-burning stove on winter evenings or at the foot of the bed. His generosity, kindness and compassion for all living things will be dearly missed.
Ralph was preceded in death by his older sister, Doris; his parents; and his oldest daughter, Patricia Kathlynne Moebus.
He is survived by his wife, Sally; his children, David Wesley Clampitt with wife Karen and their children, Wesley, and Colleen and husband "E.T."; Michelle Silvey and her three sons, Dustin, Dillon and Brandon with wife Danielle; Kimberly Felder with husband David and their children, Allison and Jonathan; Courtney Allen and her children, Megean and Forrest; Sally's daughter, Andrea Evans with husband Tom and their daughter, Ava Dorothy; and Jeff Moebus. Ralph also leaves behind five great-grandchildren.
An informal Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., at O'Malley's on the Green in Anchorage, Alaska. Donations may be made in Ralph's memory to Alaska Rural Veterinary Outreach, www.akrvo.org; or an animal welfare organization of your choice.

Published in Anchorage Daily News on Aug. 29, 2017
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