Originally posted at allaboutestates.ca on October 17, 2014:
When everybody knows your name but very few know you.
I read an obit that appeared as an announcement in a sports blog from markhebscher who read about it from Scott@randomjaysstuff.
The announcement read ‘Toronto’s Witness to Sports History is Dead’. Oddly enough I knew Ralph, or should I say our family knew of Ralph, better known as ‘Ralph the Programme Guy’. In fact, in the mid 80’s we lived in the same apartment complex and I would see him doing sit ups in the laundry room.
Like many others, lots of people saw Ralph selling programs at various sports events and at hundreds of concerts and other events, some where he may not have had a formal invitation. No matter. He was recognizable. In fact Ralph was so well known that the follow up blog post at www.markhebscher.com reported that over 22 thousand people read the article and hundreds provided tributes and reflections on their encounters with Ralph.
Apparently Ralph had suffered a stroke last Spring and was hospitalized. I don’t know if anyone came to visit him. The blog shared that he turned 67 on October 1; a date that likely went unnoticed by most.
Ralph was buried on October 15th. The outpouring of tributes and offers to assist in giving him a proper send off, was outstanding. Ralph was referred to as being Toronto’s greatest witness to sports history and he likely didn’t know it. He also didn’t know how much he would be missed and by so many. Today’s Globe and Mail provided a lovely obit as well.
Lesson Learned: Don’t wait until after the person is dead to tell them what they mean to you. Thanks Ralph for this lesson.