MANCHESTER – The first time Stephanie Ralph met her future husband, they were together as strangers on an outing club trip to Lake George, N.Y.

He was a student at the University of Pennsylvania, and Stephanie had just moved to Philadelphia for a teaching job. She joined the outing club to meet people, and that’s when Larry George walked into her life.

“We set off to climb a mountain around the lake, and the group as a whole stopped for lunch. But Larry said, ‘The top is only right up there, does anybody want to come with me?’

“So I followed him up the hill. The top was not five minutes away. It was much farther. We never made it.”

Instead she found a mate for life, and together they raised a family while instilling and spreading such values as education and cultural understanding not only in their daughters, but anyone who entered their lives.

A. Laurence Ralph, 62, died Thursday, June 10, at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Mr. Ralph was a dedicated outdoorsman. He loved to canoe and hike, and moved to Maine after a 10-year teaching career to avail himself and his family of the state’s outdoor opportunities, particularly white-water canoeing, his widow said.

His daughter Heather said her father could canoe a river once and commit it to memory.

“He would remember what was around that corner or where the next rapids were. He remembered rivers instantly,” she said.

After a career in education, Mr. Ralph earned his law degree and worked as an attorney for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Later he worked for Central Maine Power.

His passion was education. Specifically, Mr. Ralph committed himself to AFS Intercultural Programs, a high-school exchange program. He was active in the organization for 25 years.

Both of the couple’s daughters went abroad in the program, and the Ralphs hosted many students at their home in Manchester.

He also worked in a visiting teachers program, bringing teachers to Maine schools for a few months at a time.

“It’s a special program that goes to the heart of a lot of things he cared about, including building bridges across nations,” said his daughter Tanya.

“He was interested in promoting personal cultural understanding, where students who come to Maine get to know the United States through the relationships they make in Maine. It’s about developing lifelong friendships. He very much supported the mission of AFS to bring world peace and understanding.”

 

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]