It is with great sadness that we the family of Ralph Seward MacLean of Sydney announce his passing on February 8, 2013 at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Sydney, surrounded by his family and friends.
Born on Aug. 25, 1924 in Sydney, N.S., Ralph was the youngest son of the late Everet Hugh and Margaret (Beaton) MacLean.
Ralph was a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and later became a member of the Canadian Merchant Marine Fleet during the Second World War.
He returned home in 1947. He joined the City of Sydney Fire Dept. in 1950 and in later years rose to the rank of captain, retiring in 1989. He received a long term Federal Medal for Fire Service of 35 years with the Sydney Fire Dept.
In 1954 Ralph was awarded the Bronze Medal for Bravery by the Royal Humane Association for jumping into the ice laden Wentworth Creek with no regard for his own life to rescue two young boys who had fallen through the ice. One boy survived.
Ralph served with the Reserve Medical Core, Victoria Park, Sydney, N.S. He was an active skin diver, diving for artifacts off Louisbourg during the 1950s for the new museum.
He was a master mason with St. Andrew’s Lodge of Cape Breton and received a 60 year jewel in 2012. He was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Cape Breton, Golden K Chapter. Ralph was also a member for the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 12, Sydney.
During 1979, Cape Breton County 100 Year Anniversary, Ralph designed a Cape Breton County flag and also the official Chain of Office for the Cape Breton County Warden’s Office.
Ralph also designed the first Cape Breton Flag in the mid 1940s.
He was an active member of the Cape Breton scene in that he was an active campaigner against social injustice and worked hard to make things right by writing letters to the editor through the Cape Breton Post.
Ralph was a musician as well playing the accordion, harmonica and the bagpipes.
Ralph was often seen at Tim Horton’s in the Pier and Welton Street where he would meet with his many friends. He was a great dog lover and could always be seen with his little dog, Benji.
Ralph will be remembered by his family and friends for his generosity, kindness and wanting to make the world a better place for all.
Ralph is survived by his son, Seward (Sandra), Sydney; daughter, Margie Glawson, Sydney; grandchildren, Karen, Gibby, and Lesley; great-grandchildren, Jessica and Della.
Besides his parents, Ralph was predeceased by his daughter, Lynda in infancy; five brothers, Henry, John Beaton, John Knox, Everet and Nelson; his three sisters, Hattie McGowan, Margaret Day and Marion MacLean.
A memorial service for the late Ralph Seward MacLean will be celebrated on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 2 p.m. at Bethel Presbyterian Church, corner of George and Brookland Streets, Sydney with Rev. Robert Lyle officiating. Burial will take place at Hardwood Hill Cemetery, Sydney, on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Ralph can be made to one of his two favorite charities, the Salvation Army and the Leprosy Mission of Canada.
The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff of the 4B Wing, Cape Breton Regional Hospital, for the kindness and care given to Ralph during his last days to die with peace and dignity.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care and direction of Pier Community Funeral Home.
ISincere condolences, to Ralphs’ family and friends, Ralph was a special gentlemen, to all who knew him; and he always, was a friend to those he didn’t know. He was a great humanitarian. People were drawn to Ralph, because of his kindness, his laughter, his respect, for those he met. I, met Ralph, several years ago, at Tim Hortons, Welton St; it was a great pleasure, just to watch, him, he always had bars or candy, to pass out to anyone, who came into Tims; he always offered, to buy coffee or tea, to anyone, from those he didn’t know, even to Police Officers. Ralph, always cared, for others, and often, gave to The Salvation Army, food bank. I was amazed, at Ralphs’ knowledge, of the Scriptures, Ralph, told me he had study The Bible for 3 years while he was in The Merchant Marines.
God Bless, Jerry Parsons; The Salvation Army Sydney Community Church
Sorry to hear of Ralph’s passing. It was nice to see him coming into the garage always had a story to tell.
From: Joe, Kirby and Gail, JJ Barrington Ltd.
So sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. MacLean. Although I have only been in Sydney since June, I was privileged to have met Ralph on a number of occasions. As you know, he was very generous to The Salvation Army. We are very thankful for his great kindness to us. Please accept our condolences during this difficult time. May God bless you.
From: Major Kent Hepditch, The Salvation Army
Sorry hear the loss of ralph .. met Ralph at Tim Hortons, Welton St., very nice man and perfect gentleman. Ralph would always offer to buy you cup coffee whether your cup was full or empty. I always like to sit around talk to Ralph for he always had a good joke to tell. He was a very pleasant man…. rest in peace Ralph for you will be missed by your many friends.
From: Michael MacLeod & Virginia Dauphney