Ralph Leon Heitt
1932 – 2021
Ralph died January 21 (age 88) at Swedish Hospital, Cherry Hill, following a heart attack and stroke. His wife Betty was grateful to be at his side during his final hours and extends sincere thanks for the sensitive and excellent care Ralph received in the Swedish neuro and cardio units.
Ralph was born in Bonners Ferry, ID to Ralph and Edna (Walters) Heitt. He was preceded in death by his parents and former wives, Pat (son Greg) and Marie (daughters Sue, Pam, Betsy, Andrea, Annette). In addition to his loving wife Betty (Williams), he is survived by his devoted son Greg (wife Betsie and daughter Kathleen) of San Diego, CA; two brothers, Jerry (wife Mary) and Don of Tekoa, WA: and his loving extended family, Betty’s sister Margie and husband John, with sons Matt (wife Sarah, children Brooke and Ridge) of Naches, WA; and Steve (wife Erin, children Lucy and Katherine) of Durham, NH; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
As an Episcopalian, Ralph was an active member, serving on vestries and/or acting as church handyman, also volunteering with a church thrift shop and making sandwiches with Northwest Harvest. In 2007, he and Betty joined other church volunteers to prepare damaged homes in New Orleans for reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina. Their current church family, St. Clements in the Mt. Baker neighborhood, has been very caring and supportive.
Ralph proudly served with the US Navy in the Seabees (CB – Construction Battalion), building construction projects at Subic Bay, Philippines. His Seabee training served him well in his lifetime career as a land surveyor and construction project inspector; working for Entranco Engineers and several cities in Washington. His work also took him to Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, and Oregon.
For many years Ralph enjoyed playing golf with a weekly foursome. At home he was an avid reader, enjoyed DIY projects in and around his home, crewed on sailboats out of Shilshole Bay Marina, skied in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Canada. In 1981, as an early celebration of his 50th birthday, he climbed Mt. Rainier with dear friend (and matchmaker) Ed Berschinski,. His love of the outdoors probably began with stream fishing in Idaho in his youth with his parents and brothers. He enjoyed camping, white water rafting on Washington rivers, and hiking with family and friends, especially at Mt. Rainier where he and Betty were married.
During their 40+ years together, Ralph and Betty enjoyed many travel adventures. These included: garden tours of England, Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy; touring the canals of Venice; hot air ballooning over Cappadocia in Turkey; snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea off Costa Rica; snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef in Australia; shopping for cigars in Havana, Cuba; soaking in the Blue Lagoon and seeing the Aurora Borealis in Iceland; a trans-Atlantic cruise – South Hampton to New York on the Queen Mary 2; swimming with turtles in Hawaii; viewing exotic animals in New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania.
Ralph loved holidays – putting up decorations for Easter, Halloween and Christmas – to the delight of neighborhood children and the child in himself. He enjoyed parties with friends - whether casual, costumed or formal – always a good sport – whether serious or silly. Ralph was a good man who treated people with warmth, respect and sincere caring. He will long be remembered and loved by many as the guy with a great laugh, a warm smile and a cheerful disposition.
Living in West Seattle for several decades was a great pleasure for Ralph. He enjoyed morning coffee at the Morgan Thriftway (with friends nicknamed the Seattle Seniles); he and Betty exercised and swam at the West Seattle YMCA and participated with Seattle Indivisible as citizen activists. They also volunteered with Seal Sitters to protect young Harbor Seals on Alki and other local beaches. A favorite activity together was monthly dancing at the Senior Center.
“I shall take you by the hand and we will dance for joy in heavenwith all the saints and angels who will rejoice at your coming.” - Margery Kempe
A memorial/celebration of Ralph’s life will be scheduled at a later date; post Covid.
Memorial donations may be made in Ralph’s name to Northwest Harvest or Seal Sitters
Share Memories and Photos of Ralph on the Tribute Page, located above.
Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home
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