A man of profound faith and love for family, Ralph William James O’Brien passed peacefully with his family by his side on Monday, June 20, 2022. Just hours earlier as he said Father’s Day Grace before we ate, he remarked about how blessed he felt to have his family and friends together to celebrate such a joyous day. We feel equally as blessed to have had him as a husband, father, and grandfather.
Ralph was born in Cornwall, Ontario on March 27, 1943, to Yvonne Mayer and Ralph O’Brien Sr. As his father was stationed in the RCAF, Ralph had the opportunity to live overseas in Germany and travel throughout Europe in his early years. He eventually joined the OPP and was stationed in the Morrisburg Detachment. This is where he met and married Elaine Crowder on October 12, 1968.
Soon after, Ralph and Elaine welcomed three children: Tracy (Brandon), Paul (Melissa) and Michael (Laura). His love for his children was evident, and he would beam with pride of their accomplishments throughout the years. He was always one to give great hugs and say, “I love you” whenever he could. He was an excellent role model for his children, and he will dearly be missed.
Being a papa came naturally to Ralph and his pride and joy were truly his grandchildren, Calista and Liam O’Brien and Jenna and Colin Devaney. He loved hearing about their baseball and hockey games, enjoyed their frequent visits, and even their incessant teasing. Papa made great pancakes and even his burnt grilled cheese sandwiches with a slice of pickle made every visit so memorable and entertaining.
His other passion was his faith, and on September 2, 1995, he was ordained as a Deacon through the Kingston Archdiocese. Ralph was assigned to St. Mary Catholic Church, Morrisburg, St. Cecilia Church, Iroquois, and finally St. John Bosco Catholic Church, Brockville before retiring from the Permanent Diaconate in 2018. He enjoyed ministering to the community and would always go out of his way to support those who needed it. His kindness and compassion for others, and his courage, strength, and willingness to leave the world a little brighter and better will always be what we remember most about him.
In addition to his immediate family, Ralph is survived by sisters, Bernadette Guertin and Karen (Garry) Comber, by sister-in-law and brother-in-law Joan and Brian Foss, sister-in-law Irene Crowder and numerous nieces and nephews.
Ralph was predeceased by his parents Yvonne Mayer and Ralph O’Brien Sr., parents-in-law Dwight and Evelyn Crowder, brother Michael O’Brien, brothers-in-law Willie Guertin and Dale Crowder, and a nephew Ronnie Axent.
A private family service will take place in the coming days.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario Good Samaritan Trust Fund in Ralph’s name, which looks to support the well-being of the less fortunate and marginalized within the CDSBEO.
Donations can be sent to:
Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario
2755 County Road 43
Write Ralph’s name in the subject line so the family can properly thank you.
May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.