Museum Loses Long-Time Volunteer
Friday, July 14, 2017, the Hudson River Maritime Museum lost an important volunteer and friend. Ralph Allen died at 88 from complications from cancer.
Ralph started volunteering at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in the mid-1990s. He was on the museum board for at least one year, but where he really left his mark was in the building and growing of the museum over the past twenty years as a hands-on volunteer.
Ralph was a dairy farmer. He was not afraid of hard work, and because of the nature of that profession, he was proficient in carpentry, welding, and electrical work, not to mention the thousands of small things necessary to keep the farm going. When he retired from farming, he brought these skills to the museum. Nearly every structure on the museum campus, including the docks and bulkhead, reflects his thought and work, be it building, installing, fixing, moving or electrifying. But what impressed us most were his problem-solving abilities. When someone was confronted with a difficult task, and was about to make an ill-advised decision, Ralph would calmly say, “Well… you could try it that way, but that is not how I would do it” and proceed to find an excellent solution, safely getting the job done without bruising any egos.
Ralph was a quiet man with a wry sense of humor. He didn’t have much patience for the spotlight. In fact, he’d probably think a public article like this one, all about him, was a waste of time. But it isn’t.
Ralph continued to work at the museum well into the last month of his life. His final project was a dust collector for the Riverport Wooden Boat School which, as usual, works to perfection. When someone like Ralph dies, we are reminded just how lucky we were to have spent time with him and learn from him. His legacy will live on at the museum, from the darkest nooks and crannies of the museum to the best floating docks on the Rondout. Next time you’re at the museum and you appreciate something built or working well, take some time to thank Ralph, because he probably had a hand in it. We say thank you all the time.
Thanks Ralph, for everything.
The Board, staff, and volunteers of the HRMM
7/24/2017 10:04:38 pm
Hello Friends. Sending condolences and warm wishes to all of you at HRMM. We well know the value and importance of core volunteers and understand the fellowship that is fostered by virtue of what they bring to an organization. Please relay our thoughts and prayers to Mr. Allen's family from all of us here at Old Rhinebeck.
10/27/2017 06:17:37 am
Museum has been facing serious difficulty due to the loss of the leader and care taker for the building. Now it has been embraced for the patterns of the museum for the future times for the products.
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Hudson River Maritime Museum
50 Rondout Landing
Kingston, NY 12401
The Hudson River Maritime Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the maritime history of the Hudson River, its tributaries, and related industries.
Become a member and receive benefits like unlimited free museum admission, discounts on classes, programs, and in the museum store, plus invitations to members-only events.
The Hudson River Maritime Museum receives no federal, state, or municipal funding except through competitive, project-based grants. Your donation helps support our mission of education and preservation.