YORK Ralph J. Alvarez, 95, died Sunday, January 13, 2013, at York Hospital. He was the husband of the late Elaine J. (Sturtevant) Alvarez. Born April 13, 1917, in Waltham, Mass., he was the son of the late Joseph and Signe (Johnson) Alvarez. Ralph graduated from Waltham High School in 1935 and took several work-related courses at MIT in Boston while working at the W.H. Nichols Machine Co. in Waltham, Mass., before retiring in 1985. He attended Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene, York. Ralph is survived by his sister, Marie Nye of York; three nephews, Richard Nye of Lewisberry, Robert Nye of York, and Raymond Alvarez of Zephyrhills, Fla.; and a sister-in-law, Tillie Alvarez of Zephyrhills, Fla. He was preceded in death by a brother, Harold (Bud) Alvarez, and a niece, Cynthia (Nye) Doman. Ralph was a railfan since he was a young boy. As a rare mileage collector, he would record his mileage through the years on a RR atlas. If passenger trains no longer ran on a line, he would hike the tracks, get permission to ride freights, or ride private rail excursions. Ralph joined the MA Bay RR Enthusiasts in 1934, the year it was founded, at the age of 17, when he learned they were sponsoring a railfan trip. That was called the first "railfan trip" in the U.S. on the now-abandoned Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington RR. Ralph later became an officer and last year an honorary lifetime member of the club. He also held memberships with the Nat'l. Assn. of RR Passengers and the American Assn. of Private Rail Car Owners. He was a 50 year member of the Nat'l Historical Railway Society. Through his many years of travel, Ralph had made a wide circle of friends across the country, who are also ardent railfans. He always had a good spirit and made others feel welcomed. He had no children, but he enjoyed and loved his extended family of nieces and nephews and showed a grandfatherly love to all. He will be missed by many. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, January 18, 2013, at Yorkshire U.M. Church, 125 Edgewood Road, York 17402. Burial will be in Susquehanna Memorial Gardens. A viewing will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday at the church. Memorial contributions may be made to Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene, 400 Stillmeadow Lane, York, PA 17404. Etzweiler Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 1111 E. Market St., York, is in charge of arrangements. www.etzweiler.com
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Published in York Daily Record & York Dispatch on Jan. 16, 2013