Ralph was born in Henderson, Kentucky and graduated from Holy Name High School. His next educational experience was St Louis University, where he received an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969. Additional graduate degrees are in education including a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ralph met his wife Jane (Brueggemann), a Missourian, while attending SLU and living and working at the Missouri School for the Blind. They were married in 1970 and have four adult married children and 5 grandchildren. Prior to moving to Louisville and St. Leonard Parish in 1995, they lived in Missouri, Kansas, and Arizona. Ralph retired from K-12 education in 2003, and Jane in 2014. Ralph currently works full time in the Research Department at the American Printing House for the Blind. He completed a four year formation program for the diaconate and was ordained August 25, 2012.