Obituary for Dr. Ralph W. Seager
DR. RALPH W. SEAGER (from the April 23 Penn Yan Chronicle-Express)
PENN YAN — Dr. Ralph W. Seager of Penn Yan passed away quietly at Keuka Comfort Care Home on Sunday, April 20, 2008.
A noted author and poet, Ralph published some 800 poems and essays, as well as several books, among them the well loved and much quoted “Songs from a Willow Whistle”, “Wheatfields and Vineyards”, and “Sound of an Echo”. Among many other themes, his writings expressed his thoughts on faith, love, nature, patriotism, the Christmas Miracle, and the joy of growing up in rural Yates County.
For 20 years Ralph taught creative writing and English at Keuka College, and taught poetry workshops across the United States. His love of teaching was only exceeded by the admiration of his students and colleagues toward him, particularly in his ability to awaken one’s senses to the discovery of the unfamiliar, the beauty of the ordinary, and the potential of the unseen. Ralph was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by Keuka College in 1978.
Ralph grew up in Guyanoga Valley, graduated from Penn Yan Academy and spent most of his life in Yates County. As a trombonist, he played in boys’, high school, and village bands for nearly 50 years. His marriage to high school sweetheart Ruth Lovejoy flourished for nearly 73 years until she passed away in 2005. Together they traveled to Africa, Europe, Russia, and across America and Canada, relishing the pleasure of meeting new people of different cultures.
Serving with the Navy and Marines in World War II, Ralph saw duty on Pelelieu in the western Pacific. He was instrumental in the rescue of survivors of the battleship Indianapolis attack in July of 1945.
Ralph continued to write and publish poetry until his death.
He is survived by sister Margaret Drakeley of Penn Yan, sons William, Douglas, and Keith, daughters-in- law DD, Emily, and Linda, seven grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.