Murphy Funeral Homes

4510 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA


Ret. Brigadier General James Robert Ralph Jr.

August 17, 1932December 22, 2017
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Retired Brigadier General James R. Ralph Jr. died peacefully in Ft. Belvoir, VA on Friday, December 22, 2017 at the age of 85.

Jim is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 62 years, Hilde; six children, Rebecca, James III, Linda, Rick, Michael, and Christina; ten grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his brother Joe, of Seattle, WA. Jim was born on August 17, 1932 in Spokane, Washington to Navy Veteran, James and Effie Ralph.

Jim was inducted into the United States Army on November 24, 1952. He subsequently graduated from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA, where he received a commission as a Lieutenant in the Infantry Branch. He had a variety of command and staff positions in the Infantry, Adjutant General Corps, and was at the forefront of Army Automation. Jim’s assignments included Company Command in the 101st Airborne Division, Military Advisor with MAAG at the Embassy in Benghazi and Tripoli, Libya in the Americal Division as the Division G1 in Vietnam, Department of the Army Staff Officer at the Pentagon, Chief of Staff of the AG School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN, United States Army Europe Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Automation, and Deputy Commanding General of Computer Systems Command. His nearly 35 years of military service culminated as Commander of Personnel Information Systems Command and Deputy Commanding General 7th Signal Command.

Upon retiring from the Army, Jim helped lead Automation Research Systems for over a decade, retired as President, and then went on to start Ralph Consulting, LLC. His dedicated and selfless service continued in support of the United States Armed Forces as he provided vital leadership in shaping the strategic direction in Army personnel policy through the Army Science Board and Army Reserve Strategic Management Advisory Panel.

Jim was an accomplished pianist and artist, and his exceptional musical talent often brought joy to all those around him. He made everyone around him laugh with his witty humor, and he was always filled with compassion and wisdom. Jim exhibited the core Army values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. He was truly part of the greatest generation, such a humble gentleman who loved life and was dedicated to his family and our country. He was a charter member and a founder of the Saint Martin History Club, and an active member of the Washington Chapter of AFCEA. Jim was a devout member of the Ft. Belvoir Catholic Church, serving as a CCD Teacher and Eucharistic Minister for many years.

Jim graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in History and Music at Parkville College, MO, and earned his Master’s degree in History and Business from Shippensburg University, PA. His military schools include the Infantry Officer Basic Course, AG Advanced Course, Command and Staff College, and the US Army War College.

There will be a viewing at Murphy Funeral Home, 4510 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22203 from 2:00 - 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 30, 2017. A Funeral Service will be held there at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 31, 2017. Jim will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Jim's life.

You may contribute toward the U.S. National Army Museum at Ft. Belvoir in honor of Ret. BG James R. Ralph, Jr. at: https://armyhistory.org/donation/ and condolences may be posted online at: www.DignityMemorial.com. The family would like to thank Ft. Belvoir hospital staff for their utmost kindness and professional care.


  • Gathering of Family and Friends

    Saturday, December 30, 2017

  • Memorial Service

    Sunday, December 31, 2017

  • Funeral Ceremony

    Friday, June 1, 2018


Ret. Brigadier General James Robert Ralph Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?


January 17, 2018

Heidelberg, 17. Januar 2018

Liebe Hilde,
Liebe Familie Ralph,

Zu unserem groen Bedauern haben Pietro und ich vom Heimgang Deines lieben Gatten am 22 Dezember erfahren. Auf diesem Wege sprechen wir Dir und Deiner groen Familie unser tiefes Beileid aus.

Pietro und ich haben viele schöne Erinnerungen an Deinen Mann und an Dich in den frühen 80er Jahren, als mein Mann Pietro sein Budget Analyst in DCSSA USAREUR in Heidelberg/Germany war. Mein Mann fühlte sich geehrt, für ihn arbeiten zu dürfen, da er ein echter Gentleman war.

Ich selbst erinnere mich mit groer Freude an die diversen privaten Treffen auerhalb des Büros, auch einmal zusammen mit Deinem Vater, der damals bei Euch zu Gast war.

Pietro und ich wünschen Dir und Deiner Familie viel Kraft und Gottes Segen in diesen schweren Tagen.

Mit herzlichen Grüen
Stephanie und Pietro Benko, Heideberg/Germany

Kay Wood

January 6, 2018

I have many wonderful memories of Jim and Hilde and their family. Jim and Hilde were a caring couple and fun to be around. We were together first at Ft Campbell, Kentucky and last together in Virginia, but lost touch in recent years. When a disc jockey failed to appear at our daughter's wedding reception, Jim graciously played the piano to entertain the guests.
I have read about Jim's involvement with the museum at Ft Belvoir. Because of the holiday rush, I failed to read the obituary in the Washington Post until later.
Please know that I keep the whole family in my prayers and think of you often.
Kay Wood

Jim Kurtz

January 1, 2018

When then-Colonel Ralph was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Systems and Automation (DCSSA) at HQ, US Army Europe in Heidelberg, circa 1980-81, I was an Assistant Secretary of the General Staff, and DCSSA was one of my "accounts." That meant staff papers coming from his office to the USAREUR Chief of Staff, Deputy Commander, or Commander in Chief, all entered and left the command group through me. He went out of his way to get to know me, made sure I knew what his action packages were all about, and had standing orders to his staff that if I called with a question, they were to answer it or refer it to him. Much later, we ran into each other in the lobby of the building where I work in Alexandria, when he was there attending Army Science Board meetings.
He was always a "model superior" to me and I credit what I learned from him with helping me get through a 32-year career and retire as a colonel.
May he rest in peace.

James Eubanks

December 31, 2017

Dear Hilde and family,

Jim and I were great friends during our Army service. We were classmates at OCS and were commissioned together in 1954, then classmates again at AG school in 1963 and I was Jim's replacement in the 23rd Infantry Division and had the great good fortune to follow the footsteps of a man whose footsteps were indeed inspiring. Jim was a great gentleman, an inspiring leader, a brilliant mind, and a great credit to the U.S. Army. I shall miss him as I know everyone who had the good fortune to know him will.
My most sincere condolences for his wonderful family.
Jim Eubanks, Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired)

Jim & Katy Fawcett

December 30, 2017

It saddens us to hear of his passing, he was a role model for everyone. He will be missed.

Sue and Clair Knapp

December 29, 2017

So sorry to hear about Jim's passing. Our prayers and best wishes for Hilde and family at this time of sorrow.

Jim Jefferson

December 29, 2017

My heart cries out today for the loss of a great person. The best time at the MOOA dinners at Ft. Belvoir was to be with Jim and talk about military history. He was a great gentleman and I will truly miss Him. --Jim Jefferson

George Kolesar

December 29, 2017

I worked with Jim, both on active duty and after we both retired. He had lots of great qualities, but first and foremost, he was a true gentleman. We all welcomed his comments when the Army was trying to figure out how to absorb computers into the force. He always made perfect sense. I did not know he was a pianist, but it does not surprise me. He always exhibited a high-class personality.

December 29, 2017

I had the pleasure of working for BG Ralph on two different occasions when we served together in the Army. He was one of the finest officers and gentleman that I have ever served with. Our families became good friends and we shared a lot of great times together. He will be greatly missed. Pat and I send our condolences and prayers to Hilde and the entire Ralph family.
Charles T. Harriman, Colonel, US ARMY (Retired)

December 28, 2017

Jim Ralph welcomed me into Automation Research Systems, Limited in August, 1993 and provided counsel that assisted in my transition from the Military into private practice. I observed him exhibit patience and control when "lesser men" would not have been able to. He will be sorely missed. Adrienne's and my thoughts and prayers are with Hilde and the Ralph Family during this challenging time!
Robert (Bob) W. Mortis, Colonel, US Army (Retired)