Ralph W. Egers Jr.

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    - Kathleen Conley Murphy
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    - Phil Skillings
  • "Mr. Egers cared and made a positive difference in my life."
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    - Judy Hawkes
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Ralph W. Egers Jr., 83

PEMAQUID - Ralph W. Egers Jr. passed away peacefully the morning of Jan. 26, 2018, after a long illness. He was born Sept. 10, 1934, in Portland, the first son of Ralph Sr. and Mary Cotton Egers.

A 1952 graduate of Gorham High School, Ralph was active in sports, class offices, chorus and yearbook staff, as well as school plays and musicals. At graduation he received three scholarships, including one to study at Gorham State Teachers College.

While attending Gorham State Teachers College, Ralph was active in varsity and intramural sports, was president of the Maine Future Teachers Association and first vice president of the National Future Teachers of America Association. He also participated in the Outing Club, College Chorus, Theater Group and fraternal musical reviews.

Ralph had an extraordinary career in education, working as a teacher, counselor, and administrator, and was active in community service. After graduating from Gorham State Teachers College with a B.S. in education in 1956, Ralph began his professional career as a teacher in the South Portland school system and was soon recognized for his remarkable ability to make a difference.

Ralph was chosen for the Fulbright Exchange Teachers Program and was sent to Cranleigh, England, where he taught for a year in the Elmbridge Boys School. His ability to connect with others was obvious in the way that he developed lifelong friendships with several of the students he taught while there.

After Ralph returned home from England in 1961, he resumed his teaching career. He advanced rapidly, being promoted to assistant principal, principal, curriculum director, assistant superintendent and eventually superintendent of the South Portland School District. Ralph earned two master's degrees with honors, one in education administration (University of Maine, 1963) and the other in guidance counseling administration (University of Southern Maine, 1975).

Ralph was active in his profession and in his community. He served as president of the Maine Teachers Association from 1972 to 1973, and president of the USM Alumni Association in 1983. He held lifetime memberships in the Maine Educators Association and the National Education Association. Honorary awards included Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honor Society, Gorham Alumni Association Portland-Gorham Community Service Award (1973), and the USM Alumni Association Hilltop Award (1981).

His leadership and experience led to an appointment in Augusta as deputy commissioner of the Department of Education in 1986 under Governor Brennan and interim commissioner of education in 1987 under Governor McKernan.

After leaving state government, Ralph decided to try a new career and went to work for L.L.Bean, where he was drawn to their reputation of quality customer service. He began his career at L.L.Bean in the human resource department, where he put his people skills to work. From there he was asked to supervise in manufacturing, where he oversaw the functions of all three shifts. He retired from L.L.Bean in 2001 with many happy memories and several Bean's Best nominations from his colleagues.

Following retirement, Ralph fulfilled one of his bucket list items by returning to Cranleigh, England, in 2006 to visit the Elmbridge School once again. It had been beautifully preserved, restored and turned into a home for the elderly. To make his return even sweeter, he was taken on a tour by one of his former students.

Ralph enjoyed hunting (especially ruffed grouse and partridge), fly fishing (especially brook trout), power boating, kayaking, canoeing, and traveling, as well as spending time with his family.

Ralph had a way of endearing himself to all those he met. Everywhere he went, he seemed to run into someone he had taught, worked with, or otherwise had been connected to in some way. To his astonishment, when he moved to Pemaquid he found that his new neighbor was someone he had hired during his time as a school superintendent. Many have spoken of the positive difference Ralph made in their lives.

He leaves a legacy of selfless giving, great wit, hard work, kind words, loving ways and humility. Ralph often said, "When you see someone doing something well, tell them so." He was also known to say, "We're all doing the best we can."

Someone once asked Ralph how he would like to be remembered. He replied that he would be pleased "if people could and would say of me, 'he cared, he made a difference.' I hope that former students, co-workers, friends and those individuals who know me so well personally, will always have cause to remember me that way."

Ralph leaves behind his loving companion of 17 years, Janice McGuire, with her daughter and son-in-law, Andrea and Kurt Hallowell, and their children, Jamien, Chloe, and Halle; his daughter, Rebecca Egers and son-in-law, John Bowie; his former wife, Dorothy Egers; his brother and confidant, Lloyd Egers, and his wife, Judith; his former brother-in-law, Robert Hearn and his wife, Lee; and many nieces and nephews, cousins, extended family members and many dear friends.

He was predeceased by his father, Ralph Egers Sr.; his mother, Mary Darrah, and his stepfather, Willard Darrah; his youngest brother, Earle Egers, and his nephew, Gary Egers.

A service will be held at the Bristol Mills Congregational Church at 1261 Bristol Rd. in Bristol on Friday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m. Arrangements are with Strong Hancock Funeral Home.

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Funeral Home
Strong-Hancock Funeral Home
612 Main St
Damariscotta, ME 04543
(207) 563-3550
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Jan. 31, 2018