2008-08-09 / Editorials & Letters

'We will miss Judge Joe Ralston'


In the midst of letters about fogging mosquitoes, paving jobs gone awry and consternation about zoning, I want to share some thoughts about the loss of one of Millersport's favorite sons. The passing of Judge Joe Ralston this past week at the age of 87 should not be allowed to slip by quietly.

His booming laugh, well told stories and judicial voice should long echo in our memories. He was a patriarch; a fixture; a veteran; a faithful public servant; an encourager of souls; a beloved husband, father and grandpa; and another from our greatest generation. He could speak volumes without saying a word, peering over top his glasses while smiling underneath them.

He marched in every Memorial Day parade that I can remember…until he had to ride…until he had to send his sentiments from his care facility. I can still hear him calling out cadence.

ON person in my church remembers meeting Joe for the first time as a young man in his court, answering for a speeding ticket. His scolding was full of tough love and they later would serve shoulder to shoulder in the Lions Club. Another recalled how Joe as a lawyer sent divorce seekers to their priest or pastor, exhorting them to battle for reconciliation, that their covenant was worth saving.

He call me "Preacher" every time he saw me as if to boldly affirm my calling and urge me not to forget it. Joe's faith in our Lord was never obscured to me. I always though of him as our local version of Ben Franklin with a little Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, and Will Rogers sprinkled in - his wit and wisdom and tenacity are all a part of his legacy.

Someone last week wondered aloud to me if our children will have figures like him to look up to, to aspire towards, to be inspired by. I certainly hope with all hope they do though I readily admit we need more like him. How blessed our community was to have and how dearly we will miss Judge Joe Ralston. Pastor Steven Bush Millersport Covenant Church

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