Ralph S. Graber, 91, of Allentown, PA, died Sunday, July 3, 2016, in his home. He was married to T. Lorraine (Green) Graber for 68 years.
He taught English and American Studies at Muhlenberg College for 36 years. He joined the Muhlenberg faculty in 1953 as an instructor, received tenure as an assistant professor in 1959, and later was promoted to associate professor and professor. He served as acting head of the English Department (1987-88) and chairman (1988-89). Upon retiring in 1989, he was named Professor Emeritus of English.
Ralph was the director of the American Studies Program (1977-87), acting chairman of the English Department (1987-88), and as chairman (1988-89), he received the Lindbach Distinguished Teaching Award in 1988.
He received the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Lehigh University in 1946 and 1948 and a Doctoral degree in English and American Literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1959.
Before joining the Muhlenberg faculty, Ralph was a graduate assistant (1946-48) and instructor (1948-51) in English at Lehigh. In 1952, he taught part-time at Cedar Crest College while doing graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania.
Born in East Greenville, PA, he was the son of Dallas and Alvenia (Schultz) Graber.
He played three years of baseball at East Greenville High School and, in 1946, for the East Greenville Cubs, champions of the Upper Perkiomen Twilight Baseball League.
Ralph published an anthology, The Baseball Reader, and 35 articles in periodicals varying from the Georgia Historical Quarterly and English Journal to the National Pastime and Baseball Research Journal. He contributed biographical sketches of baseball players to American National Biography (Oxford Press), to three volumes of the Biographical Dictionary of American Sport (Greenwood Press), and to African-American Sports Greats.
He served as secretary of the Middle Atlantic District of Phi Beta Kappa (1976-82), secretary-treasurer (1959-65) and president (1965-66) of the Pennsylvania Section of the College Association, and twice as president of the Muhlenberg Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. He continued to hold membership in AAUP, Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Tau Delta, the Society for American Baseball Research, and Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity.
Active in civic organizations, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Hispanic American Organization of Allentown (1985-99), the West Park Civic Association (president two terms), and the Board of Directors and Steering Committee of Properties of Merit from its inception to 2007. He was active in animal welfare and environmental protection organizations. He was a consultant to dealers and collectors of sports memorabilia. For many years, he served as class agent for the class of 1946 at Lehigh.
Ralph was the public address announcer for the former Allentown Wings of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, Muhlenberg College athletic events, and other sports activities in the area.
He was a member of the former Trinity United Methodist Church, Allentown, PA.
Survivors: wife; daughter, Joan (wife of William Hock) of Doylestown; sons, Eric S. (wife Jeanne) of Newark DE, Christopher S. (wife Terri) of Berwick, Jonathan S. of Seattle WA; eight grandchildren; 18 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by a brother, Dallas S. Graber.
Services: 11 AM Saturday in Stephens Funeral Home, Inc. 274 N. Krocks Rd. Allentown. Call 9:30 AM until service time. Interment will be in New Goshenhoppen Reformed Cemetery, East Greenville. (www.stephensfuneral.com)
Contributions: in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to Dr. Ralph S. Graber, Muhlenberg College, Advancement Office, 2400 Chew St., Allentown 18104 or Lehigh University, Advancement Office, 27 Memorial Dr. W., Bethlehem 18015.