Michael Ralph (1953-2020)
Michael Patrick Ralph was the first son of Michael Joseph Ralph and Regina Patricia Ralph (nee: Halloran). He has two younger brothers, Kevin (Michelle) and Sean (Christy). He was born hard of hearing in both ears, along with being legally blind in his left eye. His first 8 years of education were spent at Archbishop Ryan School for the Deaf where he acquired good audio and speech skills and met many of his first deaf friends.
At the age of 13, he was mainstreamed at Ridley Middle School and later Ridley High School in his neighborhood. He not only excelled on all the sports fields but also became a prominent leader of the Student Body Council (Class 1973).
After studying Psychology at Bloomsburg University (PA), Michael graduated from Gallaudet University with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (1978) and a Masters Degree in Developmental Psychology (1980). In 1981, he completed an advanced certification in School Psychology with Specialization in Deafness, the first school psychologist program designed to meet the needs of Deaf students in the United States.
In his 40-year career working at four state schools for the deaf in South Dakota, Pennsylvania, New York and Maine, not only did he serve tirelessly with Deaf students, he also extensively devoted his time and energy to the local Deaf Community and associations to advocate for the best interests and improve the quality of life of Deaf adults. Those civil organizations include: Maine Center on Deafness, Gallaudet University Alumni Association, City of Sioux Falls Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities, Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf, Deaf-Hearing Communication Center (PA), Creative Access, Inc. (PA), and the New York Deaf Theater.
In PA, he served at after-school and summer sports programs, and was a great and caring coach who mentored many Deaf children in basketball, baseball, and soccer at Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in the mid 1980’s to early 1990’s. Many former PSD students are still in close contact with him to this day. Same for those of Lexington School for the Deaf in NY. In 2014, he teamed up with several PSD staff to form a union for the first time since 1984. He was the president of this union for the last six years. All in all, his lifelong goal was to make a difference in the life of people he met.
Michael fought a sudden diagnosis of ampullary/pancreatic cancer in August and leaves his beloved wife of 14 years, Annette Lin, and their 10-year-old daughter, Olivia Grace.
Family will receive relatives and friends on Tuesday, December 29th, 2020 at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, 51 Lansdale Avenue, Lansdale, PA 19446 at 9:30AM followed by Michael’s Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30AM. Interment will be private at the family’s convenience.