TRAVERSE CITY — Ralph Sleight, 90, of Traverse City, passed away Sunday, June 8, 2014 at Bortz Health Care in Traverse City.
Ralph was born on Monday, Sept. 10, 1923 to the late Harvey and Ralphina (Reay) Sleight in Griggsville, Ill. He attended Griggsville schools, McKendree College in Lebanon, Ill. and Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill before serving three years in the Marine Corps in the United States, Guam and China during World War II. He was discharged at the rank of second lieutenant.
After graduation from Western Michigan College in Kalamazoo, he then moved to Redding, Calif. where he taught for one year and then attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, attaining his master’s degree. He began teaching then in San Jose, Calif. During his second year there, was called back to the Marine Corps for service in the Korean War, as a first lieutenant.
Back in San Jose, he was the principal of Peter Burnett Junior High School, Pioneer Senior High, and founding principal of Gunderson High School in the San Jose Unified School District. He continued his doctoral work at Stanford University. Overall, he taught in San Jose from 1949 until his retirement from there in 1982. Following his retirement, Ralph became the associate executive director of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. After moving to the Grand Traverse area, Ralph served at the interim superintendent and principal for Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools in 1988 and 1989.
Ralph was married to Ruth Metz of Chambersburg, Ill. in Dec. of 1941. She passed away in Sept. of 1986. On Jan. 16, 1988, Ralph married Marcella “Marcy” (Whiteford) Reay Sleight of Traverse City at St. Francis Catholic Church.
Ralph enjoyed a number of hobbies, including motorcycling, fishing and fly fishing, golf, playing euchre, traveling the U. S. by motor home and skiing. He loved living on Grand Traverse Bay, and especially loved his family and friends and entertaining. Ralph was an active member of St. Francis Catholic Parish in Traverse City where he participated as a greeter and as a lector.