Pine Crest Funeral Home & Pine Crest Cemetery

1939 Dauphin Island Pkwy, Mobile, AL


Raphael Alfonso Maharaj

October 4, 1939August 19, 2020

Raphael Alfonso Maharaj, 80, passed away on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.

Raphael attended Osmond High School in Trinidad, then went on to graduate from St. George’s College in Maritime Engineering before he attended the U.S.A.-E.E.O.C. Training Institute. He arrived in the United States of America on February 18, 1962, from Trinidad, and made Mobile, Alabama his home. Raphael then registered for the draft. As a Merchant Seaman, with the endorsement “Valid for Emergency Services”, he continued serving being assigned as a crew member serving with the Military Sealift Command, transporting military supplies to our Armed Forces in South Vietnam. Alabama Dry Docks & Shipbuilding Company had a huge backlog of naval vessels awaiting repairs, including the aircraft carrier “USS LEXINGTON”, a nuclear submarine, and several destroyers.

ADDSCO put out a call for experienced maritime workers to have these ships put back in service, which Raphael answered. He signed off from the Sealift Command and was employed by ADDSCO as a machinist, continuing his services repairing those naval vessels. Raphael remained at ADDSCO until the yard closed in 1989. He still wanted to serve his country, so Raphael volunteered with Alabama State Defense Force in 1996 with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He retired on March 14, 2014, at the rank of Colonel and Commander 3rd Brigade ALSDF. Raphael served as Alabama State Commander with the rank of Brigadier General in the United States National Reserve Corps, an all-volunteer based mission prior to veterans and civilians organization, responding to natural and manmade disasters.

Raphael received certification from FBI Citizens Academy, where he was one of four individuals to incorporate the Academy. He was a graduate of Mobile Police Academy, first-class, held an American Red Cross Certificate of Merit and was a training instructor, and was certified with the Civic Endeavors and Boards.

He was on the State Advisory Committee, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; retired 2nd Vice President-International Association of Official Human Rights; retired Chairman with Mobile Human Relations Commission; was a member of the South Alabama Veterans Council; Commission Member and Parade Chairman of the Mobile Area Bay Veterans Day Parade; past President and Current Board Member of Keep Mobile Beautiful; past President of Crime Stoppers of Southwest Alabama; Board Member of Mobile Historical Commission; Founding Member of Mobile International Festival; past Board Member of Habitat for Humanity; past President of Volunteer Mobile; past Board Member of the American Red Cross-Mobile Chapter; retired Executive Secretary with Local 18 I.A.M. AFL/CIO; past President of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Race Relations; past Chairman of Mobile County Public Employers Training Council; and a Founding Member and current Board Member of Mobile Medical Reserve Corps.

Raphael spent his life serving God, his country, and humanity. He was a wonderful husband and father and will be greatly missed.

Raphael was preceded in death by his brothers, Sonny Maharaj, Emmanuel Maharaj, and Daniel Maharaj; and sisters, Theresa, Elsie, and Marie.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Betty L. Maharaj; four children, Cheryl (James) Smith, Sheila O’Brien, Dennis (Sylvia) Davis, and Susie (James) Bolen; ten grandchildren, Janelle Smith (John R.) Will, Jennifer (Josh) Pierce-Hamilton, Caitlin S. O’Brien, Candace O’Brien, Darryl Davis, Evan Davis, Sophie and Nicolas, Tyler Bolen, and Carley Bolen; seven great-grandchildren: Ella, Heidi, Jayden, Jenna, Avery, Michael, and Lainey; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and other cherished family and friends.

Visitation for Raphael will be held on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. at Pine Crest Funeral Home, with a graveside service in Pine Crest Cemetery, immediately following.

The family has requested that due to Covid-19, this remains a family occasion, and hopes to invite everyone to a Memorial Service and Celebration of Life at a later date.


  • Sonny Maharaj, Brother (deceased)
  • Emmanuel Maharaj, Brother (deceased)
  • Daniel Maharaj, Brother (deceased)
  • Theresa, Elsie, and Marie, Sisters (deceased)
  • Betty L. Maharaj, Wife
  • Cheryl (James) Smith, Daughter and Son-in-law
  • Sheila O’Brien, Daughter
  • Dennis (Sylvia) Davis, Son and Daughter-in-law
  • Susie (James) Bolen, Daughter and Son-in-law

Learn more about the Maharaj name


  • Visitation

    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

  • Graveside Service

    Tuesday, August 25, 2020


Raphael Alfonso Maharaj

have a memory or condolence to add?

Michelle Miller

September 1, 2020

A mutual friend just told me of Raphael's passing and I was so saddened. I worked with him years ago through the American Red Cross and he was always looking for ways to help the community, one of the most civic-minded people I've ever known. Both he and BJ (Betty) were volunteers for the Red Cross and easy and enjoyable people to know, always a pleasure to work with. My sincere condolences to BJ and all of Raphael's loved ones.

Patricia Kalili

August 25, 2020

I didnot visit with this special gentleman but a few times. Many miles separated us, me being in Hawaii; but he was a gracious host when I visited in his home. Often, before he passed away, I would view the great coin collection he so graciously gave me along with other memorabilia about his adopted city and his positions.
Betty and I have been friends for many years and I extend my sympathy to her and her children and grandchildren that he seemed to love so dearly!! Great memories of Mr. R. will linger forever. God bless.

Gregory Bone

August 24, 2020

Brigadier General Maharaja(h) will truly be missed. He was fun, cordial and had a great spirit of volunteerism. Those of us who knew and served with BG(h) respected and admired his great love for his country and family. He has been an inspiration to us all.
The bible says blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. I believe that these are the times when our faith is tested the most but it will be your faith that will see you through this sorrow.
I pray that God gives you the grace to carry on. You can be proud of his service to our community.
In Deep faith,
Lieutenant General (h) Gregory Bone
United States National Reserve Corps

Susan Andrews

August 24, 2020

I am the niece of Raphael otherwise known as uncle Fano to us. He never called me by my given name. Always Toos Toos. I remember when he was visiting my grandmother Janet Maharaj just spoke about her black diamond, which is how she referred to him. Every day was a happy day for all the nieces and nephews. There were a lot of us. Lining up just waiting for palette or ice cream. Those were the good old days. Thank you uncle Fano. All my memories of you are good 👍. Now go on. Go get that rest and reunite with those who loved you and left before. Always. Toos Toos. 😢😢💞

Paulette Williams

August 24, 2020

My sincere condolences to Betty and the Family. Raphael was one of the very first to welcome me to Mobile when I moved there to work with Emergency Management. He was always a pleasant soul with a helping hand and our friendship continued throughout the years. After my retirement, I was always pleased to get those messages of kindness and encouragement . My friend, RIP, your work on earth is done and greater rewards await.

Cheryl Simmons

August 24, 2020

As a child, I looked forward to his visits. He would usually bring us toys and buy ice cream for all his nieces and nephews everytime the vendor would pass by. He loved my mom, Elsie, and she loved him. He was there with her in her final days and I'm sure she would have done the same for him. Rest "Uncle Farno" until we can all meet again (John 5:28, 29)

Steven Williamson

August 24, 2020

My deepest sympathies & prayers to the family of Raphael. Thank you for your service and God bless.

Faye Lyndall

August 22, 2020

Raphael was a special friend. I worked with him for many years at the City of Mobile. He will be missed.

Carol Conrad

August 22, 2020

I’ve known and loved Raphael for many years working for the city. Most recently through his work with Keep Mobile Beautiful. He was a wonderful person that always had something to say that made you laugh. He will be missed by all.


Learn more about the Maharaj name