Ralph J. Mirarchi

November 6, 1940October 7, 2020
Play Tribute Movie

On Wednesday, October 7, 2020, Ralph Mirarchi, 79, loving husband, father and grandfather, passed away in his home surrounded by his family. Ralph was born on November 6, 1940 in Shamokin, Pennsylvania to Joseph and Teresa Mirarchi. He was the oldest of three and grew up in an Italian home, not learning to speak English until he went to first grade. He attended one year at St. Edwards High School in Shamokin before leaving for Baltimore. At the young age of 13, Ralph entered the seminary to pursue the vocation of priesthood. He spent nine years at St. Charles and St. Mary’s seminaries. As his desire to become a priest waned, he met the love of his life, Joan. Their relationship blossomed as he continued his schooling and attained his Master of Social Work at the University of Maryland. During this time, he lived and worked at Villa Maria working with foster children, serving as a House Parent, lifeguard and activity director. In January of 1966, he married Joan (Butz). Joan moved back to Lancaster to live with her parents while Ralph finished his degree and graduated in May of that year. Ralph began his career with Catholic Charities as a caseworker for the foster care program. Within a year, he was promoted to supervisor and began marriage counseling at night. In 1972, Ralph left Catholic Charites to begin work in the private field. During this time, he was appointed to the Maryland Association for Mental Health and helped provide the governor with insight that lead to increased funding as well as changes to state mental health programs, hospitals and psychiatric facilities throughout the state. In 1977, he opened his practice, Mirarchi and Kelly, LCSW, and began his life’s work as a marriage and family therapist. Ralph was a talented trumpet player, avid coin collector and photographer and enjoyed spending time on the golf course, despite how frustrating the game could be. He loved to travel, especially to the Virgin Islands. He and Joan vacationed in St. Thomas every year for 36 years, spending time on the beach and making friends across the island. Ralph was a member of the Terrapins club, always supportive of University of Maryland football and basketball and he loved his Orioles and Ravens. He was always quick to share a funny joke or witty response or to lend a supportive ear and give wise advice. He thrived on helping others live their best lives. He taught everyone, patients and family and friends, to live in the moment. While he was incredibly successful in his academic and professional life, his greatest and proudest achievement was his family. Whether spending time at the beach or sitting around the table during holidays, being with family brought him pure joy. Ralph is survived by his wife of 54 years, Joan (Butz), his three children, Joe (Tricia), Gina Psenicska (Dave), Julie Tomko (Mike), nine grandchildren, Emily and Madison Mirarchi, Tyler, Todd and JJ Psenicska, Michael, Gabe, Sammy and Nate Tomko, his sister Mary Teresa Ryniak (John), brother Sam and many nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends may gather at Schimunek Funeral Home of Bel Air, Inc. 610 W. MacPhail Rd. Bel Air, MD 21014 on Friday 3-5 and 7-9 PM. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. John the Evangelist 13305 Long Green Pike Hydes, MD 21082 on Saturday at 10 AM. Cremation to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Upper Chesapeake Kaufman Cancer Center, 500 Upper Chesapeake Drive, Bel Air, MD 21014 or St. Mary’s Seminary & University, 5400 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210. Online tributes may be left at


  • Upper Chesapeake Kaufman Cancer Center
  • St. Mary's Seminary and University


  • Visitation

    Friday, October 9, 2020

  • Visitation

    Friday, October 9, 2020

  • Funeral Mass

    Saturday, October 10, 2020


Ralph J. Mirarchi

have a memory or condolence to add?

Donald Schaller

October 16, 2020

A belated but sincere note of sympathy and sadness on Ralph's passing. It doesn't seem possible that this paragon of strength, wisdom and good counsel has been taken but his legacy will live forever among those who were fortunate enough to know him. We are thankful for the many family interactions we shared and will always remember his 'steady hand'.
Our deepest sympathy to Joan, Joe, Gina, Julie and their families!!

Sylvia and Don Schaller

Sharon Iannacone

October 14, 2020

I knew Ralph as a professional colleague.
He was one of the best !
The world needed Ralph......
I am so sorry to just now learn of his passing.
My heart and my prayers pour out to all of you - his family,
and to all of you who worked side by side with him.
And to you , Ralph, I add my voice with all the angels -
"Well done, good and faithful servant !"

Sally Jones

October 13, 2020

Joan, I was so sorry to hear of Ralph's passing. It was an honor to have known him. I am glad you have a strong and loving family to support you now. All my best.

Liz Ferrugia

October 12, 2020

I came to Baltimore in 1969, having been accepted into the school of Social Work at the University of MD. I was in need of a job that would give me the flexibility to attend graduate school part-time. Since there was no internet to access at that time, I walked or took the bus to various organizations around the city to drop off my resume, including Catholic Charities where Ralph was a Foster Care supervisor. Initially, there were no openings, but an opening suddenly became available, and Ralph called me in for an interview on the Friday before school was to start. Both being of Italian heritage, we found an immediate connection, and he hired me that day! It was such a pleasure to work for him - he was a very positive, outgoing and supportive person. My deepest sympathy to Joan and all of his family.

D. Jean DiFatta

October 12, 2020

I first met Ralph when I was only 10 years old when I lived at Villa Maria . Ralph worked there as an activiy director. What I didn't know at the time, was that Ralph was doing some heavy soul-searching while at "the Villa" trying to decide whether he should continue with his traing to become a priest or not. Unlike some of the caregivers there who were very strict and at times detached; Ralph was always kind and compassionate with every child he came in contact with.

In later years , Ralph and I would cross paths again. He went on to become a Psychiatric Social Worker. He was my therapist for about 15 years. I became a better person listening to his advice and feel good about myself in part by his example and overall dedication to treating others with respect while learning to love myself.

All that knew him should feel priveledged. I know I do.

Chris Schaller

October 10, 2020

My earliest memories of interactions with Uncle Ralph were at Butz family reunions. As a little kid, it made quite an impression this adult who barely knew me seemed to hang on my every word.
As I got to know him a little more growing into adulthood, I realized he was someone who truly found his calling. Definitely a live well lived.
Our thoughts are with and of you all today.
Chris, Cindy, Bridget and Becca

Betty Procopio

October 10, 2020

So sorry to here about Ralph he will be saddly missed. Betty and Michael Procopio

Chester Price

October 9, 2020

Dear Joan,
My prayers are with you both.
Ralph was THE most decent, caring, thoughtful, kind, humble person I have ever known. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe him adequately.
We first met when we started our practices in about 1972. I had just started Fallston Pharmacy and he worked out of an office on the lower level. We were both just getting started so spent time drinking coffee in my pharmacy.
We remained friends ever after and I remember talking to him recently from Taiwan shortly after his diagnosis and he was his usual upbeat self!
For some reason, I thought of him a few days ago, and when I opened my iPhone this morning this web page was open. Don’t know how it happened, but I believe in the Devine Spirit, and so believe he was saying goodbye to me.
My best to you and your family.
Love, Chet

Nancy & John Stricker

October 9, 2020

Fond memories and sympathy to your family. Remembering JC days and carpooling- especially when Ralph would drive the big Cadillac!! Stricker family

David Miller

October 9, 2020

I had been seeing Ralph as a patient for the passed 23 years, I was 14 when I met him. Since then he had helped me through many trials and tribulations in my life, always there with just the right grandfatherly like sage advise to help me through whatever was troubling me, He helped me soo much in my life he is irreplaceable. I am, therefore, proud to have called him a friend and mentor. What I'd like to say to his family and friends is something he taught me. This is going to be hard, Life is not easy in these situations. However do not worry about what happened in the past you cant change it, or worry what's in the future. Live in the now and take things one step at a time and things will come as they come. Thinking like this will allow Ralph never to be forgotten and will keep you comforted until the day you meet him again,


Learn more about the Mirarchi name