Remembering Ralph Keuther

Published 8:00 am Friday, July 22, 2022

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I had known my great friend Ralph Keuther for so long that I don’t remember how I met him. I had been trying to find out where he was of late; now I know where he is: he is with our Lord!


My first solid memory of Ralph is of tuning a great Yamaha vertical piano for him; it was a big one with a working sostenuto pedal. Few pianists ever use that pedal, and very few know what it does . . . Steinway considered it important enough to have their man explain it at National conventions of the Piano Technicians Guild.

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The pedal is used to sustain any notes played before taking it, usually to hold “pedal points” under subsequent notes. I used it in playing Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C# minor . . . Call me if you want to know more!


Later I took the piano techs’ regional conference program booklets to Ralph’s son David to print for me. Years later, when we moved into White Oak, both Ralph and his wife Penny appeared at our door to welcome us. Penny was one of Fran’s yarn shop customers.


Another fond remembrance of Ralph is sitting with him in the audience of TubaChristmas® one year. His beautiful singing voice rang out when we sang the Christmas carols.


Another one is his laborious pressing of yellow tape on all the many otherwise unmarked curbs here on Oak Hill. The markings really help us old folks, some with greatly impaired vision, as we still walk, having to step up or down as we get to the curbs. Ralph did this job unassisted and strictly voluntary.


Ralph also developed and printed a pictorial directory of all residents. Gary Hunt and I made many of the photos at his request. There is no one who can update it now that Ralph is gone!   


We often enjoyed dining at the same table with Ralph and Penny here at White Oak. Neither of them would eat the little cherry tomatoes usually provided in the prepared salads, so Ralph would offer theirs to me. They are too acid for Fran, so I wound up with LOTS of the tomatoes to eat. I love ‘em!


We learned that David and Anna Marie have moved to South Carolina, where she is Minister of Music at a church. She once took a turn conducting the Community Chorus; she brought her Polk High School chorus to sing for us at the dedication ceremonies of the restored courthouse.


I used to see David at PRO physical therapy when he was a local fireman. I told him that I was happy to see him working out, because I wanted him to be physically able to carry this 200-pounder out of a burning building if necessary . . .


I got an unrecognizable quarter in change at Bojangles this morning. Is dated 2022, and shows that our coins are being continually changed; pennies because they cost more to make (about two cents) than they are supposed to be worth, and all formerly silver coins because silver is more valuable than the coins’ stated value. Others celebrate Americans other than our Presidents.


This one has a new profile of George Washington on one side and Dr. Sally Ride on the other. Nearly everyone is interested in coins, I suppose, even though few are serious numismatists. My grandfather gave me a fat leather purse containing lots of old coins; unfortunately, it was stolen when our house was burglarized years ago. Fran is right now going through a small jar of coins that we put our surplus coins into!


Yes, I remember that we are not supposed to end sentences with prepositions. I am with Sir Winston Churchill, who is reported to have uttered, “This is just the sort of nonsense up with which I shall not put!” Sorry, Miss Sevier, Mrs. Bowen, Drs. Haney and Whaling, and other English teachers who taught me as I attended several schools. They read hundreds of my words, yet encouraged me to write more of them!    


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