LCol. Ralph MacDonald

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MacDONALD, LCol (ret'd) Ralph Fraser, CD Passed away quietly in Ottawa on July 16, 2010, at the age of 87. Ralph was born August 14, 1922, in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He joined the Canadian Army in 1942 and served overseas with both the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps and the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Demobilized in 1946, he entered University College at the University of Toronto where he met Elizabeth Rogers from Calgary. After graduating in 1949, he followed Elizabeth to Alberta and spent the summer working in the Leduc oilfields and hitchhiking to Calgary. That fall he entered Law School at the University of Alberta and in 1950 re-joined the Army in the Canadian Officer Training Corps. Ralph spent the summer of 1950 training at Longue Pointe in Montreal. Stranded by a railway strike, he cadged the first of many unofficial air force "training flights" to make it back to Calgary in time to marry Elizabeth. Commissioned in 1951, Ralph graduated from Law School a year later and joined the Regular Force, once again in the Ordnance Corps. After serving in Vancouver and back in Edmonton, he was called to the Alberta Bar in 1956 and transferred to the Judge Advocate General's branch. Ralph's more than thirty years of service as a legal officer took him to Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Lahr and finally back to Ottawa. Along the way, he was a minor hockey coach, Cub leader and Group Committee chair. One of his proudest accomplishments was the two years he spent as president of the Canadian Forces Europe senior hockey league. By 1988, when he retired at the age of 65, Ralph was the oldest member and last Second World War veteran serving in the Regular Force. He then began his second career, serving another ten years as a civilian in the Department of National Defence. In 1997, after a loving 47-year partnership, Ralph lost Elizabeth, and with her a large part of himself, following her 11 year struggle with cancer. Ralph was never happier than when with his family and friends, and was always eager to lend a helping hand. He loved meeting and getting to know new people, and sharing his own tales and the pride he took in the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. He is survived by his sons John (Judy) of Calgary, Robert (Claire) of Ottawa, and Murray (Barbara Hedman) of Navan, and his grandchildren Lindsay (Lawrence) and Robert (Valerie) of Calgary, Alexander and Iain of Ottawa and Caroline and Sarah of Navan. In addition to Elizabeth, he was predeceased by his parents John and Sarah MacDonald of Sydney, his brother Sandy and his sister Catherine MacKinley. Special thanks to the staff of Ward 4A at the Montfort Hospital for their gentle care. Friends are invited to visit at the Central Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 315 McLeod Street, (at O'Connor), Ottawa on Wednesday, July 21 from 1pm followed by a Service to Celebrate his life to be held in the Chapel at 2pm. For those who wish, contributions in Ralph's memory may be directed to the Military Families Fund - c/o CFCF - Military Families Fund, Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency, 4210 Labelle Street, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K2 (1-877-445-6444); or the Canadian Hero Fund, 55 Bloor Street West, PO Box 19532, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3T9, (888) 602-3071.
Funeral Home
Hulse, Playfair, & McGarry Central Chapel
315 McLeod Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 1A2
(613) 233-1143
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Published in The Ottawa Citizen from July 19 to July 20, 2010
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