Ralph J. Michael, 1939-2020

Ralph J. Michael, 1939-2020
Ralph J. Michael, 1939-2020. Photo provided

PLYMOUTH, Vt. – Ralph Joseph Michael, 81, died Monday, Dec. 28, 2020 at the Rutland Regional Medical Center.

Ralph was born Sept. 13, 1939 at home in Plymouth, Vt., the son of Arnold Joseph and Violette M. (Derby) Michael. He attended the one-room school in Plymouth Notch and Black River High School, where he graduated in 1956.

Following high school, Ralph attended Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., to study engineering. He graduated from Norwich in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and received an officer’s commission in the United States Army. Ralph served in the Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., from 1960-1963, and upon returning home to Vermont continued service with the Army Reserves until 1968.

In 1967, Ralph met and married Judy, the love of his life. They shared 53 wonderful years of marriage.

After the Army, Ralph worked for the Vermont Highway Department for five years as a project engineer during the construction of the Interstate highways. In 1969, Ralph founded his engineering firm, Michael Engineering Company, which he operated for over 50 years. During this time, he worked as an engineer and professional land surveyor on projects large and small throughout Vermont.

Ralph was a member of the Vermont Society of Land Surveyors and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was a gentle man with a hardworking, detail-oriented spirit, and he enjoyed woodworking, gardening, landscaping, stonewalls, and Judy’s home cooking.

Ralph is survived by his wife Judith (Balestra) Michael; his daughter Michelle; son Jeremy; his five grandchildren Juliette Michael, Elliot Michael, Caleb Spraque, Alexa Dailey, and Eva Dailey; his brother Rudolph; and sisters Mary Ann Underhill and Marilyn Seward. In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by a brother Rodney and a sister Marguerita Hutt.

A celebration of Ralph’s life is being planned for a later date. Those wishing may make memorial donations to the Vermont Society of Land Surveyors Educational Fund or the Rutland County Humane Society.

The Cabot Funeral Home in Woodstock is assisting the family. An online guest book can be found at www.cabotfh.com.

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