South Portland- Ralph Leroy Ricahrds,92, longtime residents of Cape Elizabeth and Buxton died peacefully on September 12, 2017 at the Maine Veterans’ Home in Scarborough.
He was born in Grand Lake Stream during a heavy snow on January 31, 1925, with the attending doctor transported to Grand Lake Stream by horse and sleigh.
Ralph graduated from Princeton High School in 1943. The three boys from his graduating call all enlisted into the service with two going to Europe and on to the Pacific. Ralph joined as a U.S. Paratrooper serving for three years in Europe during World War II in the 13th and 82nd Airborne. He marched with the 82nd Parachute Infantry Division in New York City, the largest parade held following the Allied Victory in Europe.
Ralph earned his Bachelor and Master’s Degrees from the University of Maine at Orono with graduate work at Boston University. He started his career in education as a science teacher in the small town of Brownville Junction, continued as principal at Mechanic Falls and then became the longest serving administrator as high school principal for Cape Elizabeth. HE was a member of the Maine Teachers’ Association Executive Committee and former President of the State Principals; Association. He also belonged to several local organizations where he resided.
In 1951 he married his best friend and love of his life Barbara Ann Cook of Woodland after meeting at the Woodland Labor Day Fair.
Ralph is survived by his wife, Barbara, of 66 years, his sons, G Bion Ricards and his wife Muriel of Rockport, and Scott D. Richards and his wife Pamela of Cape Elizabeth, his two grandchildren Wesley and Elle Richards, his sister Ria Furbish of Austin, Texas and sister-in-law Norma Richards of Dover-Foxcroft and a niece and four nephews. Both his sons are grateful to their father for all he taught them whether it was wood working, falling a tree in the woods, writing, plumbing and having the general ability to take on most any project. He never hesitated to tell them how much he loved them.
He was predeceased by his parents; his brother Philip Richards and brother-in-law Roger Furbish.
Ralph had a subtle downeast humor, a tremendous work ethic, boundless energy and was said to have four loves: snowmobiling, gardening, cutting wood and his wife Barbara. He always had a huge bountiful garden including a Christmas tree farm and liked to give his produce away to family, friends and the needy. Later he focused on organic gardening. He and his wife enjoyed traveling the United States, Canada and Europe. He hung a print of Henry David Thoreau’s quote in the family room “Man looks at his woodpile with a kind of affections,” To Ralph there never seemed to be enough dry stacked hardwood for the winter season ahead. He spent several months each year at the family camp that he built with his father on Big Lake near Princeton.
The family would like to thank the wonderful and thoughtful staff of the Maine Veterans’ Home in Scarborough for the care of Ralph.
Memorial gifts may be made online to the Maine Veterans Home at Mainevets.org or by mail at: Maine Veterans’ Home, 290 Route 1 Scarborough Maine, 04074. A private committal service is planned.