101 years young and still going strong, Legatee Ralph Butcher proves the Hans Selye quote, “If you want to live a long life, focus on making contributions” – an adage this sprightly centenarian continues to live by.
Ralph has a service history dating back to 1940 Britain, when, as Private Ralph Butcher, he attended the Military College of Science.
Attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant, he was sent to Egypt and was commissioned to join a unit in Libya in the midst of heavy fighting. Joining the invasion of Sicily as Captain, Ralph took part in the liberation of Greece from Nazi Germany’s occupation, subsequently confronting the communist controlled ELAS military guerrilla force.
Repatriated to Australia in 1946 along with wife, Christine, Ralph sailed into Port Phillip Bay and into the next great chapters of his life.
A valued Legatee since 1949, Ralph’s commitment to assisting the widows and families of Australian Defence Force veterans endures today. As an active member of the Reserve list from the age of 90, Ralph isn’t slowing down, maintaining an ongoing relationship of aid and care with 14 widows he regularly checks in on throughout the year.
At the 2018 Comradeship Luncheon, we had the opportunity to celebrate Ralph’s magic milestone 100th birthday and appreciate his many years of unstinting service with Legacy and, if that wasn’t already enough, congratulating him on receiving the Order of Australia (OAM) in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Along with extensive travel, a solid golf game, community engagement and the respect and love of family and friends, Ralph’s secret to longevity appears to be about finding purpose, sharing talents and developing relationships built on kindness and compassion.
Happy birthday to a man with energy to burn and the lung capacity to blow out 101 candles, but who’s counting!
Ralph Butcher, you are an inspiration to us all!