Ralph D. Howard, 78
SOUTH PORTLAND -- Ralph D. Howard died at the age of 78 at the Maine Medical Center in Portland on Dec. 12, 2010, after a courageous 10 year battle with Parkinson 's disease and recent illness.
He was born on Oct. 12, 1932, in Mexico. Ralph attended local schools and was a 1950 graduate of Mexico High School where he played baseball and basketball. He attended the University of Maine in Orono and was a member of PHI ETA KAPPA.
He served in the United States Army from 1954-1956 stationed in Germany. He and his wife, Jane, were able to do some traveling when they lived there. He married Paula Jane Claypool in 1954. Ralph and Jane settled in South Portland where they would raise their five children.
Ralph worked at Blue Cross/Blue Shield for 33 years as a data processing operations director. Ralph was a 50 year member of the First Congregational Church in South Portland where he served as a deacon and an usher and was a member of the Eskimo's Men's Club. Ralph was president of South Portland National Little League Baseball and he started the girls SP National Little League softball program. He also coached in the South Portland Senior League Baseball League. Ralph was elected to the South Portland School Board and served for three and a half years, one of them as chairman. He also was elected to the South Portland City Council, serving for nine years, including three terms as mayor.
In his retirement years Ralph enjoyed working part time at Drillen Hardware where he loved meeting and talking to customers. He volunteered at Skillin School, South Portland High School, the Veteran's Home, Ronald McDonald House and Meals on Wheels.
Ralph always supported his children and then his grandchildren in all of their school, athletic and music activities, rarely missing an event. He loved to spend his summers with his family at his camp at Roxbury Pond where he would hike, fish, kayak and watch the eagles, moose and loons. He loved animals and always had a dog.
Ralph was a big fan of all the New England sports teams.
Ralph D. Howard
He enjoyed playing ping pong, wiffle ball, basketball, cribbage and bridge. As a proud Patriot, the American flag could be seen flying in front of his home. Most of all he loved being with his family and was proud of all of them. He felt blessed to have a close supportive family.
Ralph had a wonderful sense of humor and a twinkle in his eye. Always a gentleman, he was honest, diplomatic, and loyal. His actions demonstrated a strong sense of community and service. He was a great supporter of South Portland athletics and school activities. Ralph was a man of few words, but what he said was meaningful and to the point. He will be greatly missed.
He was predeceased by his parents, Fred I. and Della (Thurston) Howard; and his brother, John. Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Paula 'Jane' Howard of South Portland; four daughters, Brenda and her husband Warren Michaelsen of Yarmouth, Donna and her husband Harry D. Clark of South Portland, Pamela and her husband Jude Mulcahey of South Berwick and Beth and her husband Jeff Smith of Merrimac, Mass., and one son, Douglas and his wife Pam of South Portland. He adored his 15 grandchildren, Trevor and Peter Michaelsen, Ben and Tim Clark, Kate, Sarah and Jonathan Mulcahey, Kera, Ryan and Eric Howard, Abbie, Molly, Amanda, Joshua and Cameron Smith; and one great-grandchild, Jacobi. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Fred and Pat Howard of South Portland; and several nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 15, at Hobbs Funeral Home, Cottage Road, in South Portland. A service will be held on Thursday, Dec. 16, at the First Congregational Church, Cottage Road, South Portland, at 11 a.m.
Memorial donations in Ralph's name can be made to:
The Maine Parkinson's Society
5 Bucknam Rd., Suite 1A
Falmouth, Maine 04105
South Portland High School
Dollars for Scholars
at SPHS DFS
South Portland High School
637 Highland Ave.
South Portland, Maine 04106
or to a charity of your choice.