Ralph McGregor Obituary, Death – Ralph Harry McGregor of East Berlin, Pennsylvania, Washington Township Education Coalition member died at the age of 85, at his home on January 19, 2023. He was born on November 8, 1937, in Kralltown, Washington Township, to Gretna (Myers) and Harry A. McGregor. Ila (Matthew) Verdirame of Gettysburg, Jill McGregor of Pittsburgh, Kae (John) Palyo of Pittsburgh, Lin Alison McGregor of Princeton, NJ, and Mira (Kevin) Merritt of Cimarron, New Mexico are his five daughters.
Ralph was a man of faith, family, and farming. He gave of himself throughout his life, sharing his time and talents for the greater good of all. He worked tirelessly to impact his communities of faith, education, agriculture, and public policy, using his gifts as a visionary, keen leader, and dedicated contributor. Ralph stewarded God’s gifts with a deep love for family, friends, neighbors, church, and community. He attended St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and took part in weekly Bible study and worship.
He also served on church councils, visited shut-ins, worked as a consultant for call committees, and interacted with local Mennonite farm families during his lifetime. Ralph was outgoing, and the only strangers in his life were friends he had yet to meet. Ralph graduated from East Berlin High School in 1955, earned an Associate of Arts Degree from York Junior College, and spent eight years at International Stockman’s School.
Ralph, on the other hand, was a student of the hard knocks; living was learning, farming was risk taking transformed into perseverance, innovation, and progress; in the 1980s, when small dairy farms were dying out, his was expanding. He exemplified educational leadership by serving on the Dover Area School Board for 14 years, nine of which he was President. Ralph most recently led the Washington Township Education Coalition, an effort supported by over 1400 residents who petitioned to change school districts in order to secure access to a higher quality public education.
This endeavor took over ten years to complete, but it resulted in a Commonwealth court decision that was upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court; a true testament to perseverance and sustained educational leadership efforts. Ralph began his community service in Washington Township in the 1960s, when he accepted an invitation to serve on the newly formed Washington Township Planning Commission, where he served as chairman. He has consistently supported election day activities over the years, and in 2017, he was elected to the Washington Township Board of Supervisors, a six-year position.
Ralph’s leadership and service extended beyond Kralltown to include farming and agricultural preservation. He was Chairman of the Federal Land Bank Association of York, Chairman of York Farm Credit from 1981 to 1992, and served the Baltimore Farm Credit District for a total of eleven years. Ralph received a local hero award for his efforts on the York County Agricultural Land Preservation Board, as well as the York County Conservation District’s Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Farm Award.
Ralph served as chairman of the Pennsylvania Beef Council and was appointed by the United States Department of Agriculture Cattleman’s Beef Promotion and Research Board in 1989. Ralph continued to support the Barbershop Harmony Society after retiring, singing with the Hanover and York Barbershop Choruses. Ralph’s quartet, Snak Pack, performed singing Valentines and other engagements, delighting and delighting many. As the saying goes, there is a great woman behind every great man.
Jena Reinhart, Zachary (Lesley) Reinhart, Kayla Merritt, Ashleigh Merritt, McGregor Palyo, Emma Palyo, and Kody Merritt are among the seven grandchildren, as are four great grandchildren, Ellie Racheim, Zoey Lin, David Lewis, and Lilian Ada. In-laws Wayne (Barb) Mummert, H. Jay (Joyce) Mummert, Larry (Yvonne) Mummert, Donald Mummert, Sam Thieret, Joyce Mummert, and Delores Mummert survive, as do many treasured nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and neighbors.
In addition to his parents, Ralph was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 58 years Ada Mae Mummert; his brother Glenn (Lois) McGregor; two sisters Dorothy Edquist and Mary Ann Pentz; and in-laws, Richard (Marion) Mummert, Glenn Mummert, Earl Mummert; Dale (Isabel) Mummert; Helen (Mummert) Thieret; Kathy Mummert and a stillborn granddaughter, Deena Mae Merritt.
Ralph married Ada, his high school sweetheart; they were a match made in heaven, a steadfast 58-year loving partnership. Ralph and his wife Ada were named King and Queen of the 100th Dillsburg Farmers Fair in 2015 for their unwavering support of refugees and immigrants. Everyone is welcome to join the family in celebrating Ralph H. McGregor’s inspiring life.
Visitation will be held at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 201 South Baltimore St., Dillsburg, PA 17019. on Monday, January 23 from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm. On Tuesday, January 24, at 11 a.m., a funeral service with Holy Communion will be held, followed by a luncheon served at the church. Mummerts Church Cemetery (Mummerts Meetinghouse), 403 Mummerts Church Road, Abbottstown, PA 17301, will be interred at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Ralph’s name to the Barbershop Harmony Society or the Ralph and Ada Endowment at the East Berlin Community Library 105 Locust St. East Berlin 17316.
Furthermore, the best way to honor Ralph is to volunteer your time and talents, take on leadership roles and calculated risks, connect with people, sing, and use humor to help make your communities, state, and nation a better place for this and future generations. “Right or wrong, I’m going to do something—if you have a passion and a commitment, you make the time,” he’d say.