COXHEAD, Ralph Nichols passed away Aug. 27, 2014, eleven days after his 86th birthday. He attended St. Bernard's School in Manhattan, Southern Arizona School for Boys, The Choate School and Colgate University. He enjoyed a distinguished swimming career in backstroke throughout his school years and was selected as an All American Swim Team member. He also competed for a position on the U.S. Swim Team for the 1956 Olympics and is in the Colgate Athletic Hall of Fame. In addition to swimming, music continued to be one of Ralph's greatest passions. In 1953 he was a vocalist for the Henry Jerome Orchestra, which played regularly in the Green Room of the Edison Hotel in New York City. Singing and entertaining for the Air Force Special Services was another of Ralph's memorable accomplishments. He began working for his father's company, Varityper, in a sales role. Professionally, he has enjoyed a lifelong career in both sales and property development. From 1965 until 2005 he had a very active career developing and building homes in both Alexandria, VA and Clearwater, FL. Ralph was on the Board of the Salvation Army, was a past Commodore of the Island Estates Yacht Club, an active Rotarian, and volunteered at Morton Plant Hospital. He was a beloved philanthropist in the community. Ralph is survived by his wife of 53 years, Marcia; children, Karen (Alan) Arlow of Portland OR, Rafe (Helen) Coxhead of Clearwater, and Wendy (James) Green of Seattle WA; plus five grandchildren. There will be a celebration of life at Belleair Country Club, 1 Country Club Lane, Belleair on Sept. 5th at 4 pm.
Published in Tampa Bay Times on Aug. 31, 2014.