Current Issue

Apr.6, 2011

Vol. 111, No. 10


Lawrence P. Ralston ’39

Published in the Apr.6, 2011, issue

Larry died Dec. 20, 2010, at Piper Shores, a retirement community south of Portland, Maine, the area where he had lived since 1982.

Larry entered Princeton from Andover. He served in the Navy from 1942 to 1946, retiring as a lieutenant commander. After earning a law degree from George Washington University in 1949, he practiced for one year before joining the Foreign Service. He served in Germany, Israel, Washington, D.C., and Poland, and then decided to study history. He received a master’s degree from Columbia in 1959. His doctoral dissertation, “Policy and Conscience: A Study of White South Africa,” was never finished, as the apartheid government denied him access to necessary research material.

In 1977, Larry produced KAN ZEN (“More than a game. It is a world.”), one of the several board games he invented.

Larry was married twice: first to Virginia Carr Johnston and then to Joan Fairchild Long, both of whom predeceased him.

In 1964, Larry wrote to his classmates, “In the quite unlikely event that I ever have a biographer, I say, ‘What we achieve is won, almost inevitably, at the cost of something else.’”

To his surviving cousin, Gordon Schaefer, the class extends its sympathy at the loss of a devoted member of ’39.

The Class of 1939

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