Ralph Erich Maassen
1917 - 2009, Santa Barbara
Ralph Erich Maassen passed away on May 15, 2009, in Santa Barbara, California.
Ralph was born on February 3, 1917 in Berlin, Germany, where he grew up with his brother, Renee.
Ralph's thirst for life and all its experiences was unquenchable from the start and led him to travel much of the world and explore many different cultures and professions. During war time, he fled his native Germany to Italy, then France, and finally to England. From England, he was sent to Australia until his return to London for work as an interpreter on British radio for the duration of the war.
With a passion and talent for languages, Ralph was fluent in German, English, Spanish, Italian, and French. He was also a musician with a keen ear for the classics and jazz. This love of music led him to the heart and love of Marie-Louise Osborne (British WAF) in wartime London as she played her classical violin in Oxford Square. They were married and raised four sons together: Nick, Bruce, Nevil, and Jeff.
After working for Reuters news agency in London, Ralph and Marie immigrated to Montreal, Canada, and then again to Southern California. Ralph moved into the lighting engineering field and as a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society, went on to plan and facilitate the lighting for many of the prominent and large scale buildings in Los Angeles. Ralph was a family man who enjoyed boy scouts, camping, the mountains, Catalina Island, and Mexico with his boys.
He was generous to their friends and welcomed every animal they ever brought home. As a true animal lover, Ralph accepted a multitude of dogs, cats, birds and even a monkey into his family. Ralph spent the last several decades of his life in San Clemente where he lived a peaceful yet full life with an abundance of dear friends surrounding him. He was a member of the local French Club and the German Club.
He loved to walk on the beach while listening to his classical music, travel, visit his sons in Santa Barbara, complete crossword puzzles, play the keyboard, and frequent the opera. Ralph was born with eyes wide open and reaped the rewards of keeping them that way for the entire 92 years he lived. He was accepting, engaging, impeccably polite, intelligent and just about the wittiest man any of us have had the privilege to be in the company of.
Ralph is sorely missed by many, yet, being the truest of gentlemen, he has managed to leave us the departing gift of being inspired by the magic of life and the desire to live it to its fullest. We thank you Ralph and we will love and miss you forever:
Ralph is survived by his loyal sons: Nick, Nevil (Karen), and Jeff (Jane), grandchildren Heather, Jillian, Miles, Chloe, Morgan and Graham and great-grandchildren Noah and J.J. Ralph is predeceased by brother Renee, wife Marie, wife Barbara, son Bruce and grandson Nicholas.
A memorial will be held Saturday, May 23 at 12:00 noon at the Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara, CA. Those wishing to make a donation in Ralph's memory may give to their local Humane Society.1917-+