Demaine Funeral Home – Fairfax

10565 Main ST, Fairfax, VA



May 6, 1930January 15, 2020

David Cornell Ralston was born May 6, 1930 in Beloit, WI, growing up in Roscoe, IL. He died January 15, 2020 in his home in Fairfax, VA. He and his brother Harold Ralston (Racine, WI) graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana, IL in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering, specializing in soil and water conservation and mechanical engineering respectively. David received a Masters Degree from U. of Illinois in Civil Engineering. David entered the military service soon after with overseas service in South Korea. His professional career was spent working for the Soil Conservation Service (now Natural Resources Conservation Service) for 38 years, ending as the chief design engineer for the organization. His service to the federal agency included designing and providing oversight of flood control projects and providing dam safety evaluations for the Great Plains, Mid-Atlantic and Western regions of the country. He was also involved in developing training programs for engineers within the agency. Outside of his professional career, David was an avid gardener at both his home and at his church, Fairfax Presbyterian Church. At the church, he coordinated and worked on the Glebe landscaping project. David excelled at sports throughout his life, particularly baseball, and basketball. His later sport pursuits included senior volleyball and softball (pitching and outfield), playing until 2015 when he felt he could no longer play up to his standard. He leaves behind his wife of 63 years, Margaret S. Ralston, four children Roger (Lisa), Peter, Barbara (Paul) and Andrew (Shannon), one granddaughter Grace, three brothers (Larry, Harold and Duane and their spouses), one sister (Mary Jane Alexander) and many nieces and nephews. Donations in his name may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation (Parkinson.org) or to Fairfax Presbyterian Church.

Services will be held at 11:00 am on January 24, 2020 at Fairfax Presbyterian Church, 10723 Main Street, Fairfax, VA 22030. Refreshments will be provided following in the Church’s Narthex.


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have a memory or condolence to add?

Virginia Hollis

January 26, 2020

Dave was a great softball player w/ Northern Virginia Senior Softball organization. He and John Hollis played ball together. When John joined the church, Dave was the first person to come over and welcome him to the church. Since they had played ball together Dave recognized John.

Harold A Rals

January 21, 2020

The picture of Dave in baseball uniform reminds me of something he said with some disgust, a few years ago. He was still playing ball in his early eighties when he said "The coach asked me to let someone run the bases for me." Makes me smile to think of it.
Another of my favorites- He and, I along with Mary, were driving around near Southend, Kintyre, Scotland, visiting farms of our father's ancestors. He was driving and I was the map reader/navigator.
We were looking for the birthplace of our great-grandmother Jane Ralston, Achrua farm. We were driving along on a country road the was getting progressively worse and decided to turn around and go a different way when a couple of ladies with golf sticks approached us. Dave rolled down the window and said Hi. They responded that we should be careful driving up ahead since a couple of golfers were 'teeing off' up there. It turns out we were on the golf course grounds keeper road. Dunaverty Golf Club.

Andy Ralston

January 21, 2020

While I have so many fond memories, here's one. When dad taught me how to drive, it wasn't the easiest. We went to George Mason University to the visitor parking lot to start. To get the feel of the car I drove it around in circles and figure eights. After a bit my confidence grew, so much that at one point I lost control, hit and went up and back down the curb stopping very quickly. Both of us were more than stressed. Dad said that's enough for today. He drove home, neither of us spoke on the way home. Got home, going on our separate ways. We went again a couple weeks later, doing much better, so much better that he told me to drive home. I looked at him as if he was crazy!! Said okay. Made it home safely. The confidence he had for me and all of us is amazing and wonderful. Love you dad.

Harold A Ralston

January 18, 2020

Just thinking about our brother David C Ralston who passed away on the evening of January 15, 2020 at his home in Fairfax, VA.
Dave and I graduated in June of 1952 from the University of Illinois, Urbana, IL.
We both received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering. He specialized in soil and water conservation and I in mechanical.
Shortly after graduation he entered the U S Army with overseas service in South Korea.
He was employed by the Department of Agriculture in the Soil Conservation Service for his professional life, involved in engineering activities.
He had several locations with the SCS, among them, Urbana, IL (where he met and married Margaret Speer), Milwaukee, Twin Cities, Lincoln, Portland, Morgantown and Washington DC- his location at time of retirement.