• ROE RALPH EUGENE, Sr. On Novem...

On November 10, 2017, at the age of 83, Ralph Eugene Roe, Sr. left this world. Ralph had a presence too large for these paltry paragraphs to encompass the depth of his generosity, the breadth of his integrity, the magnitude of his wit or the enormity of love he radiated. He was a passionate, generous man who believed in the power of giving. The first to volunteer and the last to leave, he gave in time what he could not in money. Born sixth of eight children to Lewis and Ellen Roe of Seattle on November 26, 1933, Ralph often spoke fondly of his childhood. He loved movies, spending countless hours at the local picture house mesmerized by the stories and music brought to life. He remained a film lover and shared his knowledge constantly. He believed that the meaning of life is found in our stories. An avid fan of baseball, a lifelong Pirates fan, he spent many innings at Forbes Field, Three Rivers Stadium and PNC Park. His kids missed school every opening day, contracting “Bucco Fever.” Teachers shared his excuses for years. Mr. Roe proudly joined the U.S. Navy in 1951, serving courageously in two wars, Korean and Vietnam, receiving meritorious service awards for both fronts. He served as Chief Quartermaster, navigator, counselor, recruiter, and instructor, retiring in 1971 as a Chief Petty Officer. Ralph never regretted his service, despite facing health complications after exposure to Agent Orange. His shipmates became his lifelong friends, organizing biennial Alstede reunions. In 1955, a shipmate brought him to Pittsburgh. Afterward, he penned a letter to his mother stating, “I've met the girl I'm going to marry.” True to his word, on August 26, 1956, he married Josephine Ann Naples, of McKee's Rocks, PA. Together 58 years and 16 days, they gave the world five stellar offspring. After the passing of his first wife, his huge heart led him to rekindle a friendship with “the prettiest girl in Lewiston, ID.” On July 23, 2016, he married Judy Dahmen. Although only married 18 months, they shared a rare second chance at love. Ralph held a variety of jobs after retirement from the Navy from TV repairman to car salesman, but his most fulfilling job began after the birth of his grandchild, Hannah, who has Down Syndrome. Ralph dedicated the next 11 years of his life to driving Special Education and ACCESS vehicles for individuals with disabilities. Ralph served a term as Commander of the American Legion, Frank R. Kirk Post #145 in Crafton, PA, where he spent many Thursday nights playing cards. He was a regular at the Senior Centers in both Carnegie and Bellevue. He was a 3rd Order Knight of Columbus. Laughter was such a part of him that no one was surprised to find him on stage as a stand-up comedian. Ralph was well-known all along the East coast as “The Funniest Man in His Age Group”, retiring at the age of 80. He was known as “Pittsburgh's Favorite Santa”, touching young and old alike in the guise of Mr. Claus. He sacrificed Christmas dinners with his family, instead visiting nursing homes, life skills classes, and any place that needed the magic that only Santa can bring. There was always plenty of magic left for the children in his own home. His children and grandchildren fondly reflect that they knew Santa was real, as Ralph embodied his generous spirit all year long. Ralph modeled his principles, which will be carried, keeping him forever alive. “Never sell what you can give away. Start and end each day by singing. Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do, There is never a bad time for a good joke.” Ralph was preceded in death by his first wife, Joann; and is survived by his second wife, Judy Roe; his children, Lea Ellen Long, May Yvonne Roe, Lt. Commander (Ret) Ralph Eugene Roe, Jr. (Imelda), Connie (Ken) Feda, and Ramona Funovits; 19 grandchildren, including Glen Stolburg and Lewis Stolburg, (whom he helped raise and always considered more like sons); and 13 great- grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, Ralph requested that donations be made on his behalf to Planned Parenthood, the Pittsburgh Food Bank or your local Food Bank.
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PostedNovember 16, 2017