Ralph Charles Franklin

July 13, 1920October 5, 2021

Ralph Franklin died peacefully in his Florida home on October 5, 2021. He was 101 years old. World War Two veteran, Marine Corps captain, international business executive, husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Ralph was a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and a longtime resident of Sarasota and Martha’s Vineyard.

Ralph Charles Franklin was born in Cincinnati on July 13, 1920, the eldest son of Harry and Sophie Franklin, whose own parents came to America from Eastern Europe in the late 19th century. Ralph grew up in Cincinnati, graduating from Hughes High School in 1938, and from the University of Cincinnati in 1942. During his senior year, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ralph enlisted in the Marines, and after graduating, began officer training at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California as a second lieutenant with the Third Marine Division, and from there he entered the Pacific Theater of World War Two, shipping to New Zealand, then Guadalcanal. On November 1, 1943, he took part in the invasion of the Japanese-occupied island of Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, serving as a reconnaissance officer with the 3rd Tank Battalion. Following that successful campaign, Ralph was promoted to captain and stationed on Guam, serving as adjutant to the Marine headquarters battalion.

After the war, Ralph pursued a career in business, while remaining on active reserve in the Marine Corps for another seven years. In 1946, he moved to New York City, attending the Columbia University Graduate School of Business under the GI Bill. While at Columbia, he met his future wife, Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Evans of Madison, New Jersey, who at the time was the secretary to the University’s Director of Buildings and Grounds. Following his graduation from Columbia in 1947, Ralph worked for the U.S. Rubber Company (Uniroyal), first in New York, then Singapore. Betty joined him in Singapore, where they were married on November 6, 1948. Ralph and Betty moved from Singapore to Hong Kong, to Manila, back to New York, then to Brazil – first to Sao Paulo, where son Bruce was born in 1952, then to Rio de Janeiro, where son Andrew arrived in 1953. Wanting to raise their young family in the United States, Ralph and Betty left Brazil in 1954 and settled in Cincinnati, where Ralph worked for Ziv TV International, a television production and distribution company, as director of Latin American sales. Son John was born in Cincinnati in 1955 and daughter Nancy followed in 1956. The family moved back East in 1962, settling in Larchmont, NY, when Ralph joined MCA Inc. as Vice President, continuing his pioneering work in the international distribution of American television programs and motion pictures. He greatly expanded this part of MCA’s business, and became president of the company’s international division in 1969, traveling the world and doing business in dozens of countries.

When Ralph retired from MCA in 1980, he joined David Rockefeller’s International Executive Service Corps, sharing his overseas business expertise. Four years later, he retired for good, spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard and winters in Sarasota, focusing on friends, family, volunteer work, tennis, golf and charitable interests. Ralph Franklin lived the Marine Corps motto: Semper Fidelis - always faithful. He is survived by his four children, Bruce, Andrew, John and Nancy; four grandchildren, Emily, Sam, Eiko and Yoko; and great-granddaughter Ella. His wife Betty died in Sarasota in 2008.

Following a private ceremony, Ralph and Betty will be buried together at Quantico National Cemetery in Virginia.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Ralph Charles Franklin

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