Obituary: Ralph L. Hardy

Nantucket Current •

Ralph Louis Hardy, of Nantucket, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, April 15, 2024. He was 85.

Born May 7, 1938, at Nantucket Cottage Hospital, Ralph was a Nantucket native in the truest sense. He grew up fishing sunrises and sunsets at Great Point, opening bay scallops as a child by kerosene lantern in shanties on docks, and spent winters in the moors hunting deer with local families.

Ralph Hardy

Ralph attended school on Nantucket where he met his high school sweetheart Jane Jaeckle, whom he later married. Ralph graduated from Nantucket High School in 1956, a year ahead of Jane, and entered the United States Air Force in September 1956. He served at home and abroad until 1962.

Ralph and Jane welcomed their son James Hardy on July 10, 1960, at Nantucket Cottage Hospital. After his time in the service, Ralph entered the trades as an electrician on the island. He also worked many part-time jobs throughout his life, all of which centered around serving the community well.

He was a Nantucket call firefighter for years, driving the family Volkswagen beetle to late-night fires when called. Ralph was also a court officer and worked in the sheriff’s department, serving summonses.

He later went on to become a veterans service officer for the town and an agent at the VFW. After retirement, Ralph drove tour buses, enthralling tourists with local history and tales of days of old.

Ralph was also involved in many boards, committees, and clubs, often to raise scholarship funds for local youths or charitable causes.

Ralph volunteered for nearly four decades with the John Havlicek Celebrity Fishing Tournament and Genesis Foundation, which raised funds to support children born with disabilities and genetic disorders.

For the last 20 years, Ralph had been an active volunteer and committee member on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Nantucket Slam board, helping to raise funds to find a cure for CF.

At times a fishing guide and at times a chef, Ralph partook in every aspect of helping out. He was an active member at the Maddequet Admiralty Club from 1960, the Nantucket Anglers’ Club from 1970, and the No. 4’s for more than 40 years, where he held many elected positions including treasurer.

Ralph supported the Boy Scouts program on the island and was an active participant in saving Camp Richard with the late Bob Graves. Ralph is a lifetime member of the Nantucket Historical Association, served on the board of investment at Nantucket Bank, and was a member of Mass GOAL, the Gun Owners Action League.

Above all else, Ralph was a family man who loved to tell stories in his living room reclining chair, surrounded by loved ones and friends. His days often started at dawn, surrounded by coffee buddies at the Downyflake or Crosswinds restaurant.

Late in life, around midday, he would “Uber” relatives to the ferry for drop-offs and pick-ups. A chef at heart, Ralph loved to recreate family recipes adding his own spicy flair, his kale soup and linguica sausage being a family hit.

He vacationed with family in Hawaii during the off-season and never missed a trip north to Camp Wapiti in Patten, Maine, where he fished with friends for trout. Ralph’s stories, jokes, laughter, and love will be missed dearly by many.

Ralph was predeceased by his parents, Frank L. and Mary I. Hardy; and his Aunt Ethel.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Jane; his son Jim and daughter-in-law Arlene Hardy; his grandchildren Matthew Hardy, Susan and Eric Rogers; great-grandchildren Aiden and Evelyn; his brother Richard (Jane); and numerous nieces, nephews, family members and friends.

In lieu of flowers, Ralph’s wishes are for donations to be sent in his name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital of Memphis, Tenn., the Visiting Nurse Association, or the Marla Lamb Fund.

A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, May 3 St. Mary, Our Lady of the Isle Catholic Church on Federal Street, followed by a burial service at Saint Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.

Loading Ad
Loading Ad
Loading Ad

Current People