Ralph William Peters, Jr. of Millsboro passed away on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 at home, as his cherished grandfather clock struck midnight after a one-week battle with peritoneal cancer.
He was born in Cincinnati, OH, on Dec. 10, 1932, son of the late Ralph W. Peters and the late Phoebe Elizabeth (Rowe) Peters. Ralph received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from Amherst College and his Masters in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
His corporate career as an executive in marketing and strategic planning spanned 36 years, beginning with Eastman Kodak and retiring from Westinghouse’s Bryant Electric. He had a heart as big as Texas. In retirement, he shared his love helping the marginalized as Chairman and Board of Directors of Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware, of Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, and as board member and President of the Governor’s Council on Housing.
Ralph was a man of great strength, great love, and great faith. He was a cradle Episcopalian. He was smart, funny, and had a smile as big as the crescent moon. He and Rita were soulmates in the truest sense and enjoyed life the most when they were together. He was a man of strong conviction, sometimes called stubbornness, but always true to his conscience. Ralph was most contented and peaceful when out on his boat on the great bays, or sitting at anchor watching God paint a gorgeous sunset. He missed that in his later years when boating was no longer possible. He played a wicked hand of bridge and could recall and analyze every hand. He loved letting Rita trounce him in Scrabble, and even managed to win occasionally. He gave his love of skiing, photography, sailing, and birding to his son and stepdaughter, Jeffrey and Kristen. He gave his heart and soul to Rita.
Ralph will be missed by everyone he touched as family, friend, or stranger. But especially by those who loved him deeply. His presence will live on in our hearts and memories.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister-in-law, Cynthia Thomson Peters. Ralph is survived by his loving wife of over 40 years, The Rev. Rita B. Nelson (nee Beauchamp); a son, Jeffrey Franklin Peters; two daughters, Dana Jane Champion Peters and Kirsten Boman Peters; granddaughter, Sarah Sage Peters; and grandsons, Bradford Esty Peters and Alexander Currier Arifi. Also a brother, James R. Peters; a nephew James R. Peters, Jr. (Behler); grandnephew, Scott Peters; grandniece, Sarah Peters; niece, Elizabeth Olson; and grandnephew Eric Olson. Also, two step-daughters, Kristen Victoria Nelson and Lisa Nelson Peterson (Raymond); brother-in-law, Franklin K. Arthur (Eileen); nephews, Kevin William and Scott Franklin Arthur; and niece, Deanna Arthur. He is also survived by his Granny (Heart) family (who adopted each other over 27 years ago), daughter and son Dolly McClellan and Steve Roberts; grandson, David Roberts (Laura Fleming); granddaughter, Julie Roberts Stolling (Joseph); great-grandson, Thomas Roberts and great-granddaughter, Paige Roberts.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, memorial services will be held privately.
For live-streaming Ralph’s service on Oct. 3 at 11 a.m. use one of these two links:
Donations may be made to Sussex County Habitat for Humanity or your favorite charity. But Ralph would want you to donate more of your time to helping others, loving, and being kind to all.
Online condolences may be sent by visiting www.melsonfuneralservices.com.