Ralph Walbridge, a firefighter, social worker, homebuilder and poet.

Ralph Raymond Walbridge, son of Ralph and Myra Knupp Walbridge, died at his residence in Berkeley on March 26. He was 92.

Ralph was born on Aug. 18, 1928, in Santa Barbara, California. He graduated from South Pasadena-San Marino High School. In 1961, he received his bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State College, where he majored in Language Arts.

Ralph’s work experiences were diverse. He was a writer and editor for Lockheed and other engineering companies, and he was a social worker in San Francisco for eight years, where he also wrote articles and poems for the agency newsletter. In New Mexico, he built adobe homes and fought fires across the West as a member of Southwest Firefighters. Ralph also participated in many poetry readings at local venues.

Always, Ralph was a poet, an eternal maker of verses. We are fortunate to be left with an abundance of his work. His poetry reflected his great intelligence and ability to go further, deeper. The desire for his writings to be in accord with Truth also applied to his interactions with everyone he encountered. He was much respected for his wise counsel and ability to see beyond the literal.

Ralph was a beautiful, gentle presence, always exploring untrod paths, seeking understanding. He often found inspiration from his love of nature and the many trails he walked with family and friends.

Ralph is lovingly remembered by his sons, Charles, Julien and Aland; his four grandchildren; and his dedicated friends Jane Welford, Emily Hancock, Carol Chandlee and Leatrice Asher.

A celebration of Ralph’s life will be held at the Redwood Gardens Community Room in Berkeley. Please contact Jane Welford at 510-812-7450 for the date and time.


snow rides the rafters
as day comes down
a shute of sun

truth burns wearily
in the fireplace

an old man rises pensively
seeking bearings in pinon
and sage

landmarks for the definitive mind

he frets sometimes
a joker pulled from 
a random deck of memories

the wild one played in too many hands

he falls back
refers to the cold outside

what can be saved along the red deck of sun
shadows will find
lengths of ground throughout
the day
between them he will tarry

snow will darken
in places where its fallen

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