Ralph W Egers Jr. passed away peacefully on the morning of January 26 after a long illness. He was born September 10, 1934 in Portland, Maine, the first son of Ralph Sr. and Mary Cotton Egers.
Ralph had an extraordinary career in education, and excelled in all that he touched as a teacher, counsellor, and community service giver. Ralph had a way of endearing himself to all those he met and never judged. One of his favorite sayings was, “we are all doing the best we can.” After graduating from Gorham State Teacher College with a B.S. in Education, Ralph began his professional career as a teacher in the South Portland school system, and was soon recognized for his remarkable ability to make a difference. He was chosen for the Fulbright Exchange Teachers Program and was sent to Cranleigh, England where he taught for a year at the Elmbridge Boys School. His ability to connect with others was obvious in the way he developed lifelong relationships with several of the students he taught while in England. One student and his wife visited Ralph several times over the years, and even lived with him one summer.
After Ralph returned home from England in 1961, he resumed his teaching career in the South Portland school system, where he worked hard and advanced rapidly. He was promoted to Assistant Principal, Principal, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent of Schools while receiving two Master’s degrees, one in Education Administration and one in Guidance Counselling Administration.
He served as President of the Maine Teachers Association from 1972-1973, President of USM Alumni Association, and received several Community Service Awards. His exceptional skills lead to an appointment as Commissioner of the Department of Educational and Cultural Services in Augusta, where he served until the opposing political party won the governor’s seat and he and his associates were replaced.
Instead of going back into education, Ralph decided to work for Maine’s largest retailer, L.L. Bean, where he was drawn to their unprecedented customer service. He began his career there in the human resource department where his people skills could be utilized. From there, he was asked to supervise in manufacturing where he oversaw the function of all three shifts. He retired from L.L. Bean in 2001 with a party in his honor, many happy memories, and several Bean’s Best Nominations.
Following his retirement, Ralph went on to fulfill one of his lifelong dreams. In 2006, he returned to Cranleigh, England and visited the Elmbridge School where he had taught so many years before. It had been beautifully preserved, restored, and turned into a home for the elderly and to make his return even sweeter, he was taken on the tour by one of his former students.
Everywhere Ralph went, he ran into someone he had taught, worked with, or been connected to in a private or professional way. To his astonishment, when he moved to Pemaquid he found his neighbor was someone he had hired when he was Superintendent of Schools in the South Portland School System. Many have spoken of the positive difference Ralph made in their lives, and he leaves a legacy of selfless giving, great wit, hard work, kind words, loving ways and humility. Another of his quotes was, “when you see someone doing something well, tell them so.” Well Ralph, we are telling you, you lived well, you taught well, you laughed well and you loved well.
He was predeceased by his parents, Ralph and Mary; his stepfather, Willard Darrah; his youngest brother, Earl; and his nephew, Gary.
Ralph leaves behind his loving companion of 17 years, Janice; and his greatest reward, his daughter Rebecca and her husband John; he loved as his own, Janice’s daughter Andrea, her husband Kurt, and their children, Jamien, Chloe and Halle; his dearly loved brother and confidant, Lloyd and his wife Judith; his former wife, Dorothy and her family; several nephews, nieces, cousins, extended family members, and dear, dear friends.
A memorial service for Ralph will be held at 2:00pm, on Friday, February 2nd at the Congregational Church of Bristol. Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543. Condolences, and messages for his family, may be expressed by visiting: www.StrongHancock.com.