The Samantha Years

Closing the Door

As 2008 drew to an end, we said a sad goodbye to a great man. Bart’s dad passed away right before Christmas. Ralph was a man true to his word, his convictions and his family. Bart and I would talk to him every Sunday; usually after ‘Meet the Press’ and he would always have something to say about the goings-on in the world. This Sunday just wasn’t the same without him.

All six children and their families flew to Virginia to say goodbye. He would have loved to see everyone together…..the grandkids bowling, tossing the football outside or just catching up around the kitchen table. We welcomed the new year in Staunton. It seemed right to be there with family and listen to the clocks chime that final dong of 2008. We will miss you Ralph.

Ralph James Schichtel, 84, born June 8, 1924, professional engineer, was a man of depth and conviction who fought through the Battle of the Bulge, graduated from Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute with a BCE, and was a member of Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi and DKE.

He was an avid baseball player and was drafted to play catcher for the White Sox. Instead, he chose to pursue his profession and subsequently built state buildings, hospitals, skyscrapers, the Field House at the Air Force Academy and corporate headquarters including AT&T International and Pitney Bowes.

Craftsman, philosopher and avid debater, he was an unforgettable man — strong, charismatic, direct and wry, with a deep sense of empathy. He was fairminded in the home and in his beliefs, a true proponent of the decent and humane treatment of all. Ralph was a wonderful and caring husband of 56 years to wife, Evelyn; he was the father of six and delighted grandfather to six; Lisa Orton, PhD, her husband, David, and sons, Michael and Matthew; Mark Ralph, BSCE, his wife, Jane; Adam James, MSCE, his daughter, Jade; Amy Lynne, MA and executive director of the Willem de Kooning Foundation; Bret Alan, PhD, his wife Poling, and daughters, Lynn and Yvonne; and Bart Ethan, MSME, his wife, Heather, and daughter, Samantha. Ralph will be truly missed by his brothers Henry and his wife, Paul, and Harold and his wife, Rachael.

Ralph died at UVA Medical Center, Dec. 23, 2008. The family will receive friends at home Sunday, December 28, from 4 to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Kids Mobility Network, Inc., 2687 West Bitterroot Place, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129.

4 thoughts on “Closing the Door”

  1. What a lucky man to have such a great family. I know that he will be missed and our thoughts are with you.Christy, Pete and KaylaHighlands Ranch, CO


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