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Ralph Burchenal

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Ralph Burchenal Obituary
Ralph Burchenal

Glendale, OH - Ralph Rogan Burchenal died on the morning of September 10th in the family home he'd lived in for 52 years. His wife of 59 years and his son were by his side. Ralph was the son of Mary Rogan Burchenal and William Burchenal, both fourth generation Glendalians. His was a large and gregarious family and his early years were filled with joy. After a stint in the army and graduation from Washington and Lee University he met and married Martha Lyne Livingston, always known as Toone. Ralph's love of adventure was balanced by a strong sense of responsibility to the organizations he worked and volunteered for.

Ralph's favorite role was as a leader of young men. From the very beginning he organized camping and outdoors trips for all of the kids he could find. Eventually, the famous "Monkey Moon-Walkers" club was formed, a 1964 Wayne school bus was purchased and converted, and the rest was history. Not satisfied, he arranged a permanent playground in Ovando, Montana - The Two Creek Monture Ranch. Dozens of kids filled the summer bunkhouses and hundreds of friends had the experiences of a lifetime over the next 40+ years. After all the kids grew up, Ralph organized the annual Two Creek Branding Trip. For 20 years, dozens of Cincinnati's finest grappled with cow pies and mud, while dodging (mostly) well placed kicks to painful places. Miraculously, no one was killed.

Over the years, Ralph's love of ranching and the natural world turned Two Creek into a highly successful cattle operation and a nationally recognized environmental gem. The ranch has received the National Wetlands Conservation Award from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Trumpeter Swan Award and the 2017 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award, to name just a few. Grizzly bears, wolves and elk cohabitate with the ranch cattle in a model that has been replicated nationally.

Professionally, Ralph became the Executive Vice President of the Central Trust Bank at age 31 and went on to own and operate the First Mason Bank. While he served on the board of many charities, his greatest interest was the Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Ralph's family tradition of service to Children's can be traced to his grandfather Ralph Rogan, who was a trustee from 1906 until 1914, and his mother Mary Rogan Burchenal, who was a trustee from 1941 through 1993. Ralph was on the Board of Trustees from 1969 to 2003, President of the Board from 1992 to 2003, and Chairman of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center from 1987 to 1992. During his 11 year tenure as President, his greatest contribution to the hospital was his steadfast, firm hand on the endowment, which tripled in value under his leadership. Maybe the most remarkable reflection of his insight is the fact that during two of the most devastating bear markets since the crash of 1929, the endowment was able to maintain its market value and increase its income support of Cincinnati Children's. His principles still guide the investment policies today.

Ralph and Toone had three sons, Robert Rogan Burchenal (Rogue), James Jackson Burchenal and Cooper Livingston Burchenal. Ralph's brother William preceded him death, as did Rogue and Cooper. He is survived by his best friend and sister, Beth Burchenal Jones and his wife Toone, whom he lovingly called "ole lucky". His son James is married to Katie Hiller Burchenal, the mother of four beautiful children. Ralph was the proud grandfather of James' four children James Jr., Henry, Elizabeth and Sam. Cooper and his wonderful wife Anne Fogel Burchenal had three children Cyril, Copeland and Celeste. Ralph was adored by his many nieces and nephews, too many to mention.

Knowing Ralph was a multi-faceted experience. He provided scores of friends and family - young and old - with the adventures of a lifetime. He was a very generous man who found great joy in helping others. He was an impossible act to follow - truly a Great American.

A memorial service will be held at The Christ Church Glendale September 24th, at 11:00AM. Reception will follow at The Glendale Lyceum. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to The Children's Hospital Development Department, P.O. Box 5202 Cincinnati Ohio 45201 or The Ovando Fire Department, Ovando Montana 59854. Online condolences can be left at
Published in The Cincinnati Enquirer from Sept. 14 to Sept. 16, 2018
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