Ralph D

Ralph H. DeArmond

1949 - 2008

A memorial service and internment, celebrating the life of Ralph H. DeArmond, will be held 10:30 AM on Saturday April 18, 2009 at Memorial Park Cemetery, 5750 49th Street North, Saint Petersburg, FL.

Ralph H. DeArmond, Aka Ralph H. Culley III, 58, St. Petersburg, Florida, left this world on December 3, 2008, with his family at his side, to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He was preceded in death by a sister, Candy Lynn Culley; his father, Ralph H. Culley, II; grandparents, Reginald W. and Ula (Caldwell) Rosevear and Ralph H. and Margaret (Sackette) Culley, Sr.; and step-father Louis E. DeArmond (Mark).

Ralph was born on December 13, 1949 in Rochester, New York to Ralph Harrison and Mary Lou (Rosevear) Culley. He was raised in Port Washington, NY, attended Salem Elementary, Weber Jr. High School and Paul D. Schreiber High School. After graduation he attended C.W. Post College and moved to Massapequa, NY. Ralph was an active member of Massapequa Full Gospel Tabernacle and was employed by the church part time. He worked for the US Post Office as a postal worker, prior to his move, in 1990, to Largo, FL.

Ralph is survived by his beloved and cherished companion of 18 years, Marie Verkade; mother, Mary Lou Garabedian, both of St. Petersburg, FL.; sisters, Merry L. Burtner, St. Joseph, MO. and Penney R. O’Brien, Deer Park, NY; two brother-in-laws, Timothy V. Burtner and Michael F. O’Brien; nieces and nephews, Nicholas and Kelsi Burtner, and Kelley, Colleen, Meghan, and Michael C. O‘Brien, and great nephew, Michael Trevor O’Brien; uncle, R. Stanley Rosevear, Ormond Beach, FL.; three cousins, Nanette Long, Shari Feritto, Ginny Shaddix, their families and a small band of “Port Brothers”…Dave, Greg, John, Paul and Steve.

Ralph was loved and admired by us all. He set a remarkable example of strength and courage, living life on his own terms in his own way. The memories of his “excellent” back seat driving skills and witty comments will continue to fill us with laughter. Ralph will be deeply missed and never forgotten.

To send condolences visit www.Legacy.com or information regarding the service at www.memorialparkfuneralhome.com. 

Finally Free

Finally free ~ so much, so long, so hard and the hits just kept on coming. I never saw him complain - he never really showed his pain, so most never really knew. A smile wiry and coy like he knew something he wasn't telling the rest of us, and if you ever caught wind of it he'd give you that laugh that would make you forget the question.

Remembering well the last time we met him in his wheel chair in the hotel lobby . We hugged he looked up at me with that same smile took his hat off and showed me his bald head like that was his only concern , I smiled back and took off my hat knowing that was my only concern . Hail to my brother my friend a power house of a man who was always frail physically but his heart and soul were larger then any two men I ever knew . He never asked why me he was just happy to be one of the guys indeed he was .

I thought how sad was his passing but how right for Thanksgiving time, a constant reminder not of his passing but of his warmth his inner strength and most of all his joy at being alive With a tear and a smile today I am truely greatful he was part of my life

Steve S.

December 3, 2008

I was speaking to a gal yesterday who was friends with all of us while growing up. She had called to tell me how deeply sorry she was that Ralph had passed away. While in our early teens our group of boys where a tightly-knit bunch. We acted like brothers--sometimes at war with one another, teasing each other relentlessly or pouncing on perceived weakness of character because we could. But within the group, if you where having a hard time, you could count on the others to come to your rescue--in other words, we dished out the abuse across the board but all could count on protection when needed.

This particular girl recalled the time she was hanging out with all of us and somehow she became the focus of some teasing. She said all the boys joined in (jeez--weren't we great), even Ralph. But then she said to me, Ralph had a little twinkle in his eye that told her, he didn't really mean what he said, that he just needed to "be like the rest of the boys", but it was not Ralph's way to be hurtful. She said he was sweet, "he wasn't really like you guys at all."

When you are a teenage boy, I think you look to defend your turf since you are so uncertain of who you are and how you should think. You tend to just react to things and hope it was the right behavior. She saw something different in Ralph which I believe was compassion. Something you don't see in a young teenage boy. I think Ralph understood the girl's situation better than all of us because he knew how she was feeling because he had had those same feelings himself.

When you are different growing up, besides overcoming your physical challenges as Ralph had to do, there are the emotional challenges of wanting to be accepted into the group--no one wants to be the kid left on the outside.

Our group was not an easy bunch, but Ralph was every bit a part of it and although he physically struggled at times to keep up, he never denied himself the right to be there and do all the things we would do. The kid was a trooper.

When we met up again with Ralph last year in Tampa and not knowing what to expect when so many years had passed, we were pleased to find the same "kid" we knew from so long ago. He was in a wheel chair then, but he got himself to our hotel, took the head of the table and held court for six hours as we joyously jumped into our past together.

Thanks, Ralph. It was a day we will all treasure and you will fondly be in our hearts forever.

David Hughes

December 6, 2008

Thinking of Ralph these past few weeks has made me think back to our youth in Port Washington. It truly was a great place to grow up. We lived in a neighborhood where good friend's houses were just a short walk away, and Manhasset Bay was close by.

Ralph liked to fish as much as I did and in our pre and early teen years we were big fishing buddies. When the weather turned nice we would grab our bamboo poles and head to the town dock to fish for snappers. We spent many a Saturday fishing on my "Louie" boat. We'd head out at 7 AM to catch flounder and eel. We would pack hot dogs and go to one of the sandy points and build a fire from twigs to cook them on. Somehow they always managed to taste crunchy/sandy. I also remember Ralph's dad taking us on evening cruises on Ralph's grandfather's boat, the Merry Linda.

I will always be grateful to have had friends like Ralph and my other Sons of the Desert brothers as I was growing up.

Greg Blackburn

December 8, 2008

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