OBITUARY

Ralph L. Law

April 23, 1934November 9, 2017
Play Tribute Movie

Ralph Lee “Sonny” Law Jr., age 83, died peacefully at his home in Charlottesville, Va. on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 after battling several illnesses. He was best known as father-figure “Coach Law.” He had a knack for making students and athletes feel special, by remembering their name or giving them a one-of-kind nickname. Law literally touched thousands of people’s lives with unique relationships. He is survived by his wife Michelle “Misty” Law and five children; Joy Law Call of Northern Virginia, Denise Law (Craig) Rogers of Chatham, Va., Daryl Lee (Wanda) Law of Kill Devil Hills, N.C., Tiffany (Mark) Overton of Australia and Chad Leininger (Kristen Milosevich) of Vero Beach, Fla. The couple has six grandchildren; Mia Overton, Mitchell Overton, Caleb Lee Rogers, Connor Paxton Rogers, Lauren Harris Law and Austin Lee Law. Ralph and Misty, as they were called by friends and family, were married Sept. 26, 1987. She took care of him daily when his health started failing six years ago. Along with Misty, visits from his family, friends, former swimmers and co-workers kept him going until the end. Born April 23, 1934 in Norfolk, he was the only child of Ralph Lee “Papa” Law Sr. and Jean Evelyn Hodges Law whose last residence was near Ward’s Corner. A football receiver at Granby High School, Law graduated from William and Mary in Norfolk, the last year before it transitioned to Old Dominion University. Perhaps his biggest day in sports was when Law caught the winning pass in the City Series to defeat Maury on Foreman Field Thanksgiving Day his senior year 1951-52. He kept his varsity letter jacket, football and other items forever. One of Law’s first paid coaching jobs eventually brought him to Charlottesville in 1962. He took his Alma Matter Granby to the unofficial state championship in swimming and won it. He was hired as the University of Virginia Cavaliers’ varsity swim coach just days later and he and his first wife, Louise Disosway Law, moved to Charlottesville where they raised Denise and Daryl. At age 35, Coach Law received his master’s degree in public administration from UVA, which led to an assistant principal position at Buford Junior High School in 1969. Before it was over, he had served as principal of three Charlottesville public schools, Buford, Walker and Greenbrier. On the side, Law coached a variety of sports and began his lifelong love of officiating Friday night football. His legacy includes the Piedmont [Jefferson] Swim League which he launched and developed while coaching at Fairview, Keswick, Four Seasons, Fry Springs and Forest Lakes summer swim clubs. With his bright red hair and fair complexion, Coach Law often wore a tan, hard-shelled “Bwana” hat to protect himself from sunburn. Success followed Coach Law. His swimmers remember how he used a loud, natural whistle to give swimmers rhythm during heated races. Coach was proud of simple strategies he used to maximize scores. Again, he enjoyed meaningful relationships with everyone. To this day, Coach Law is loved and adored by thousands of former students and athletes. The second sports accomplishment entailed entering the Virginia High School Hall of Fame in 2008 when he was recognized for excellence in officiating high school football for 44 years straight. Again, as league commissioner, Law again spread his love of the game and enthusiasm about sports to dozens of officials, coaches and players. In this pursuit, he usually wore the white, referee’s ball cap. His carpool rides to ballgames and back with his fellow officials were truly the highlight clips of his life. His organizational and administrative skills served him well as he reigned as league commissioner for 35 years. A funeral service will be conducted 1:00pm Thursday, November 16, 2017 at Trinity Presbyterian Church 3101 Fontaine Avenue Extended, Charlottesville, VA. Interment will follow at Holly Memorial Gardens 3251 Seminole Trail, Charlottesville, VA. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00pm Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at Teague Funeral Home. Law sends special thanks to Dr. Brian Uthlaut and volunteer care-giver Lin Arnette. He suffered from heart disease since age 38 and neuromuscular disease Myasthenia Gravis for the past six years. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to the American Heart Association, heart.org and Hospice of the Piedmont, hopva.org.

Services

  • Visitation

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017

  • Funeral Service

    Thursday, November 16, 2017

Memories

Ralph L. Law

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Marian Spano

November 16, 2017

Dear Misty,

We send our deepest sympathy. We are so sorry for your loss.

Don and Marian Spano

Jeff North

November 15, 2017

Coach Law.....was my first swim coach in 1962 and always was there to provide advice, encouragement and a quick smile (as well as that whistle) . Later, in the early 80's I had the priveledge of officiating football with him many times ....I am proud to say that Coach Law and I were both inducted into the Jefferson Swim League Hall of Fame as initial members in 2015....it was his influence and the experiences I had with him as a coach at FSBC and Fairview from 1962-1973 that lead me to serve on the JSL Board....
Happy trails, Coach
Jeff North

Mary Knauf-Amiss

November 14, 2017

Coach ,
I will always remember you as my Fairview Swim Coach, my mentor at Walker School, my childrens' referee at football games and coach at swim meets. But most of all, I will miss your smile and friendship. When I worked with you as a teacher and also an administrator, you always gave me helpful advice in dealing with students, teachers, and parents. You were definately an example of a true leader.

Yates Hall

November 14, 2017

Ralph was my first year baseball coach at UVA. My baseball experiences with him were most enjoyable as he was a delightful man with a great sense of humor and a generous demeanor. He was with the players and we all had fun whether we won or lost. Our friendship and fellowship grew as we interacted over the years in sports and in the education field. I was Yatsie to him.

Mary & Hal Lockhart

November 14, 2017

Hal and I send our condolences to the Law family. I worked with Ralph at Buford and also remember him as the "white hat" on the football field. He will be missed.

November 14, 2017

I first met Coach Law at age 12 when I started age group swimming and continued through when my sons went through Burnley Moran. He had an impact on my life and the lives of many others.

Downing Smith

Nigel Mason

November 14, 2017

Mr. Law was my principal at Walker Middle School in the early 1980s. He was such a wonderful person. He loved kids and was a nice guy every day. He was always someone I enjoyed seeing walking towards me. I feel very fortunate to have known him.

November 13, 2017

Michelle, Barbara and I read of Ralph's passing and want to send you our sympathies and condolences. Ralph was a wonderful person and a positive influence on so many lives he touched.
Joe Chicurel

Bill Johnson

November 13, 2017

I had the pleasure of working with Ralph for nearly 20 seasons in the Piedmont Valley football officials association of the VHSL.
His years as an educatior, coach and administrator served him well dealing with the members in a firm but fair way. Our group was well-regarded thanks to his efforts and love of officiating.
My sincere condolences to the Law family.

Tammy Drewry

November 13, 2017

What a great principal and human being. You will be missed by many. You were always there when the students needed you . RIP
Tammy(McDaniel) Drewry

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Fairview Swim Team

FROM THE FAMILY

Caleb, Lauren and Connor day Austin was born, Aug. 10, 2005.

FROM THE FAMILY

Ralph and his dog on Father's Day 1945 in Norfolk.

FROM THE FAMILY

Grand receiver Ralph Law catches pass to win city series over Maury on Foreman Field Thanksgiving Day his senior year 1951-52

FROM THE FAMILY

Sporting Walker hat, Ralph Law coaches swimming.

FROM THE FAMILY

Ralph Law leaves Virginia to take position with Charlottesville public schools at Buford.

FROM THE FAMILY

Ralph Law practices for the big game against Maury.

FROM THE FAMILY

Ralph visits Daryl in Duck, N.C. early 1990s.

FROM THE FAMILY

Denise cheers for Albemarle football.