Mourn­ers re­mem­ber Randy Ralph

Teacher was a piv­otal fig­ure in pro­vin­cial wrestling cir­cles

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

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.

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

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.

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