Mourners remember Randy Ralph
Teacher was a pivotal figure in provincial wrestling circles
Former students and colleagues are mourning the loss of a popular teacher who also played a pivotal role in promoting the sport of wrestling in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Randolph “Randy” Ralph was killed in a fatal accident last Tuesday on the Trans Canada Highway.
Ralph, 52, was most recently the principal at the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Centre in Whitbourne, but people in the Trinity-Conception area might remember him best from his days teaching at Holy Trinity Regional High in Heart’s Content and Carbonear Collegiate. He looked after wrestling programs at both schools, attracting dozens of young athletes to the sport each year. Both schools captured provincial championships under Ralph’s guidance. He was a former School Sports Newfoundland and Labrador coach of the year and also coached soccer, basketball, rugby, cross-country running and track and field teams at Carbonear Collegiate.
Judging from messages posted on Facebook as news of Ralph’s death spread, the teacher and coach made an impression with youth.
“One of the biggest impacts from high school came from Mr. Randolph Ralph,” wrote former Carbonear Collegiate student Brandon Parsons. “He always got everyone involved, he inspired and motivated a lot of people and I’m glad to be one of those people. Thank you Randy for the many times you’ve helped me, rest easy old friend.”
“One of the most significant people I’ve ever met, took me as a junior high student and put me on his high school wrestling team and pushed me to be the best,” wrote Brady Griffin, another former Carbonear Collegiate student. “Randolph Ralph changed many people’s lives, and was very committed to everything he did. Couldn’t ask for a better man. You’ll always have a big place in my heart Randy.”
Member of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations
Born in Grand Falls-Windsor, Ralph served as president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Amateur Wrestling Association (NLAWA) and coached provincial teams at the Canada Games, as well as the provincial aboriginal wrestling team. He was a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations.
“It is with deep sadness that we post this message of passing of our dear friend and mentor, Randy Ralph,” said the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre in a statement released by its board and staff on Facebook. “Randy has left us suddenly and is now making his journey to the spirit world. He indeed leaves a huge void in our community but he also leaves us with many cherished teachings and memories.
“He leaves us with hope for our youth and having brighter futures, pride in the positive example he has lead, and strength to see the light even in the darkest moments.”
His children, Andrew and Victoria, were also wrestlers. Victoria medalled for Memorial University at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s women’s wresting championships and was a finalist multiple times for Sport Newfoundland and Labrador’s senior female athlete of the year. Randolph’s wife Frankie Ralph was also a wrestling coach and served on the NLAWA executive with him.
Carolyn Horwood, another former Carbonear Collegiate student, eloquently shared her own thoughts online about Ralph’s passing.
“This man is a legend and has made such an impact on so many people. Randolph Ralph has always been such an inspiration and truly exemplified what a good teacher (and coach) is — dedicating so much time both inside and outside the classroom to student success and achievements. He believed in everyone equally, never passed judgment, and pushed us to be the best we can be. He was a mentor and motivator. You will be missed by so many, but your spirit will live on in all those you made your mark on. Rest easy.”
A memorial service for Ralph was held Saturday at Elim Pentecostal Tabernacle in St. John’s. In lieu of flowers, mourners are asked to make donations to the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre.
Labrador, and former Carbonear Collegiate, wrestling coach Randy Ralph (right) waits for the start of Shuashem Dyke’s match at the 2014 NL Winter Games in Clarenville. Ralph was killed last week in a multivehicle accident on the Trans Canada Highway. He was 52.
Coach Randolph “Randy” Ralph with members of the Carbonear Collegiate Sentinels male wrestling team that captured the 2010 provincial title. This title coincided with his final year teaching at the school.