Ralph Lewis Obit
We are sad to report that long-time hydroplane fan, collector and official Ralph Lewis passed away recently in Lagrande, Oregon.
Ralph – together with his wife Merry Beth – was half of a husband-and-wife officiating team for the old APBA Unlimited Racing Commission. In more recent years, Ralph and Merry Beth worked with the Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association. They came within two months of being married 50 years.
Ralph held many positions in unlimited racing- URC Communications, Dreaded Pit Boss and could be spotted throughout the pits with his straw hat. He was always on the lookout for a rare piece of Hydro memorabilia. He saw his first race in 1951.
Ralph was a well respected college professor at Eastern Oregon State College when he wasn’t traveling the racing circuit. His students knew they could disagree with him as long as they had all of their facts in order. He respected a well prepared student.
In the early 1990’s, the Lewises, along with a group of college students, conducted an Unlimited hydroplane spectator demographic study at all race sites. In 1991, Ralph served as Media Relations Director for the URC.
[Reprinted from Thunderboat, January/February 2011]