Ralph Specht, veteran, engineer

Ralph B. Specht, a resident of Ridgefield for 45 years and devoted member of St. Elizabeth Seton Church, died peacefully on January 9. He was 92. His beloved wife of 58 years, Rita, predeceased him in April 2016.

Born in Springfield, Mass., he was the only child of William and Henrietta (Hinrichs) Specht. He is survived by Michael B. (Debra, deceased) of Johnstown, Pa., and grandchildren Gregory, Stephanie Stewart and Susan; Robert C. (Barbara) and grandsons Andrew and Jesse of York, Pa.; Marilyn (Kwadjo) Adusei-Poku, and grandsons Christopher and Daniel in Saudi Arabia; Sharon (James) Denny and grandchildren Claire and Matthew of Havertown, Pa.; and John W. (Shani) and grandchildren Henry and Johanna, of Bethel, Conn. Ralph was predeceased by his first wife, Stephanie (Kosierowski) in 1951.

He was a proud veteran of World War II, serving as corporal in the US Air Force in Italy and North Africa. He earned the Medal of Good Conduct but did not received it until 2008 through the efforts of genealogist Toni McKeen and Congressman Shay’s office in a surprise presentation at a ceremony in Founders Hall.

Following his discharge from the Air Force, Ralph earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and joined American Machine and Foundry, Co. in Greenwich, Conn. as a mechanical engineer. While the AMF Atomics Project Manager for the High Pressure Actuator, he was granted a patent for a mechanical arm device developed for nuclear research reactors. Thanks to the device’s capability to raise a beer, he was invited to demonstrate the device on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He later worked with AMF in York, Pa. for eight years before moving to Ridgefield to work with KRAFT/GeneralFoods, from which he retired.

Always a devout and supportive husband and father, he was confirmed into the Catholic Church at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in 1990 and became an active lector, Eucharistic Minister and ardent member of Prime Timers volunteers. Ralph had a passion for online genealogy research and various other computer research endeavors.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 10:30 am at St. Elizabeth Seton R.C. Church, 520 Ridgebury Rd., Ridgefield, with interment to follow in St. Mary Cemetery, Rye Brook, NY. Friends will be received on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah St., Ridgefield.