A man your mom always wanted you to be

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, September 12, 2018

I lost my good friend, Ralph Morgan, to the same dreaded disease that killed my other good friend in Saluda, Bill Wilkerson — brain cancer.

Ralph was my go-to man, a jack of all trades, a renowned carpenter and a highly respected man whose family helped settle the beautiful town in the North Carolina mountains. 

His family included his brother, Leon, a former mayor in the tiny town.

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Ralph was the most dependable man I ever met. He bailed me out on several occasions, like when the pipes burst one frigid night and the water flowed down like the Pacolet River. It was nasty. 

Toula and I discovered it when we arrived late one Friday night, with plans to stay for a week or two.

When we saw it, our first reaction was to call Ralph.

So, at 9:30 p.m., we did, imploring Ralph to bail us out.

If anyone could fix it, Ralph could. And if he couldn’t, he’d find somebody who could. 

And he did. He arrived an hour later with a plumber and sure enough, at 10:30 p.m., it was fixed. Ralph had done it again. 

Ralph had magical hands — he built my screened-in front porch, my deck in the back, our wooden floors and anything else that needed fixing.

He did so much for us that we called our home “the house that Ralph built.”

He also kept a watchful eye on it, driving by almost daily to check on it. When the weeds needed to be trimmed, Ralph was there. When there was snow or ice, Ralph braved the elements just to be sure our house was OK.

Ralph was a man of deep faith; a family man, the type of man your mother always wanted you to be — good, loyal, trustworthy and brilliant.

Ralph did work all over the area, and occasionally in Tennessee. People knew all about him. His reputation preceded him. 

He was humble and honest, a man who never met a stranger who he didn’t like. He kept copious notes on everything, from what homeowners wanted him to do and then give you an estimate on what it would cost. 

Ralph had to be one of God’s chosen ones, and it was that deep faith that kept him going when the odds weren’t in his favor.

He was a fighter and battled it all the way. He never gave up. It wasn’t in his blood. Lord knows he fought it. 

He was mine and Toula’s good friend, and we will miss him dearly.

We love you, Ralph. Please keep an eye out for us, because we’ll be joining you one day.

Charles deVineau Williams, Saluda