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Ralph Lang Fleming Jr.

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Ralph Lang Fleming Jr. Obituary
Ralph Lang Fleming, Jr., 91, passed away peacefully on Sunday May 20 at his residence at Croasdaile Village in Durham, NC. Born and raised in Greenville, NC to Ralph Lang Fleming, Sr. and Mary Baum Fleming, he graduated from Greenville Rose High School. He then entered the US Navy serving two years as a pharmacist mate at the Naval Hospital in Bainbridge, MD. After earning a BA from Duke University, he then received a BD from the Duke Divinity School. In 1951 while attending a freshmen orientation event at Duke Memorial Methodist Church he met Ruth Simmons of Savannah, GA who was just entering the Duke School of Nursing. They married December 29,1953 and graduated together in May of 1954.

In October of 1953 Ralph was ordained into the Methodist Church of North Carolina and was assigned his first appointment, a three church charge in New Bern, NC.

Ralph and Ruth spent the next 38 years serving eleven churches in the North Carolina conference and raising their four children. He served as president of the NC Board of Social Concern and throughout his ministry had a passion for social justice with an emphasis on racial and social equality and world peace. Ralph also had a special affinity for youth and was involved in active youth ministries wherever he served. During his ministry, which encompassed decades of political and social strife, he challenged his congregation to develop a more global and ecumenical perspective.

In his retirement in 1991, he and Ruth re-located to the low country of Bluffton, SC for 23 years where they were active in the Bluffton United Methodist church and various ministries there. He enjoyed his time on the May River boating, fishing and crabbing and he developed a love of copying at the nearby Staples. He enjoyed introducing visitors and friends to the low country life, with the braver souls surviving his many nautical misadventures aboard the USS Mary Ruth. They returned to Durham, NC to Croasdaile Village in 2014 to be near their children.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ruth of Durham, NC and their children: John of Cary, NC, his wife Cindy and their sons Grant and Eric; Howard of Granite Falls, NC, his wife Donna and their daughters Katie Punia and her husband Sam and Christine Nishiyama and her husband Declan; Timothy of Greensboro, NC, his wife Melissa and their son Samuel; Mary Elizabeth Knowles of Durham, NC, her husband Cameron; his brother Denis of Louisville, KY, his wife Joann and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life will be held at Croasdaile Community Village at the Few Chapel on Friday June 1 at 2pm.

In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to either The Croasdaile Benevolent Fund (2600 Croasdaile Farm Parkway Durham NC 27707) or the Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD, P.O Box 249, Durham NC 27702), which he was actively involved in from its inception.
Published in Bluffton Today on May 25, 2018
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