Ralph R. Darbyshire (1939 - 2014)

  • "i knew Ralph at the University of Oregon; he dated my..."
    - Molly Fletcher Hopp
  • "Irrepressible. Positive. Some physical issues, yet he..."
    - Bob Nanney
  • "I very much enjoyed having known Darby and I'm sad to see..."
    - Olof Hellen
  • "I feel fortunate to have known and worked with Darby -..."
    - Christy Miller
  • "My recollection - fun, caring, cheerful greetings always...."
    - Nelda Warkentin

Ralph "Darby" Darbyshire died at age 75 in Anchorage, Alaska, on Oct. 7, 2014, due to complications from cardiac amyloidosis. Born in Detroit, Mich., to Ralph and Leona Darbyshire, he graduated from Amherst High School near Buffalo, N.Y., in 1957 and from the University of Oregon in 1963. He became a planner for the Sonoma County Planning Department in 1963, where he met his wife, Irene. They married in 1965, and moved to Seattle, Wash., where he was employed by a regional government. In 1967, as the first planning director of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Darby initiated residents into the complexities of zoning and subdivision regulations. Darbyshire became known as "Czarbyshire" by local residents who moved to Alaska to avoid governmental control. Later he was a planning consultant for Dupere and Associates in Juneau, Alaska, a partner with Alaska Consultants, Inc. in Anchorage, Alaska, and he started the consulting firm of Darbyshire and Associates in Anchorage in 1979. His work predominantly involved rural town planning, coastal zone management planning, land management planning for numerous native corporations, borough feasibility studies and village profiling in rural Alaska. Darby loved Alaska: its beautiful scenery and its boating, fishing, hunting and camping opportunities. He was an accomplished boater and succumbed to two foot-itis, owning successive boats in Whittier, Alaska. First there was Dyn-o-Mite, then Friday Option, Moonliter II and lastly Private Reserve. He helped pilot three pleasure craft the Seattle area through the Inside Passage and across the Gulf of Alaska to Whittier. He was hired to ferry workers to cleanup sites of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He boated in Prince William Sound for 38 years, and offered weeklong charters for 25 years. He loved wine and cooking and called his cuisine on his charter boats "Camp Gourmet." Darby was a long time member of the Captain Cook Athletic Club. His final words to fellow sports enthusiasts at the cub were, "Go Lakers, go Ducks, it's been a kick, and have a steam bath for me!" He was preceded in death by his parents; and his beloved dogs, Buffy, Sioux, Sparky, Big Boy, Frosty, Mandy and Holly. He is survived by his wife, Irene; his many friends; his cousins in Michigan and California; and his dog Charlie. Many thanks to friends, caregivers, Hospice of Anchorage, Providence Hospice and nurse, Diana Woods, who were so helpful at his difficult time. There will be no funeral service. A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.
Published in Anchorage Daily News on Oct. 12, 2014