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Obituary

H. KEITH RALSTON (published on July 04, 2009)



H. KEITH RALSTON Suddenly, but not unexpectedly, at Vancouver on June 20, 2009 in his 88th year. He is survived by his wife, Edith Mary (Mollie), whom he married in 1944; son Bruce (Miriam Sobrino), daughter Delia (Rene Olesen); five grandchildren: Tyler and Max Olesen, and Daniel, Martin and Sonia Sobrino Ralston. He was predeceased in 1946 by his youngest brother, Bruce, and by his other brother, Gordon, in 2004. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Ruth Ralston, Nancy Leighton, and brother-in-law Bill Wyllie. Born September 3, 1921 at Victoria, BC, Harry Keith Ralston was the oldest of three sons of Henry Wellington Ralston (1887-1943) and Gertrude Marinda Walker (1884-1964). Keith was educated at Oaklands Elementary and at Victoria High School, where he won the Royal Institution Scholarship for Victoria District on his graduation in 1938. Proceeding to Victoria College and the University of BC, he received a BA with 1st Class Honours in History in 1942 and later completed an MA at UBC in 1965. He also did graduate work at the University of Toronto. In 1942 Keith entered the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve as an Ordinary Seaman and was discharged in 1945 as Lieutenant after serving on the Atlantic Coast. A lifelong socialist, Keith was the legislative correspondent in 1952-55 for the left-wing weekly Pacific Tribune as well as for The Fisherman and other labour newspapers. Turning to teaching, he graduated in 1956 from the Vancouver Normal School with distinction, an honour given to only ten graduates among more than 500. From 1956 to 1960 he taught at Templeton Secondary School on Vancouver's east side. In 1960-64 he was first curator of the newly established Vancouver Maritime Museum and mounted its initial exhibitions as well as assembling its early collection. After further academic study, he was appointed to the History Department of UBC in 1967. There he specialized in teaching the history of the Canadian West and developed UBC's first course in British Columbia's history. He retired at the end of 1986 with the rank of Assistant Professor. There will be a memorial service at The Great Hall at the Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace in Vancouver, 1825 W. 16th Avenue (at Burrard) Saturday, July 11 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ralston Family Fund of the Vancouver Foundation, care of Vancouver Foundation, Box 12132 Harbour Centre, Vancouver V6B 4N6 or www.vancouverfoundation.bc.ca. The fund supports Vancouver public schools and the Vancouver Historical Society.


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