He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduated from Midwood High School, where he showed an early interest in chemistry. After serving in the Army from 1944 to 1947, he came to Princeton. He played in the band, majored in chemical engineering, graduated with high honors, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
After earning a master’s degree at Princeton in 1952 Ralph began what was to become a distinguished 34-year career with Exxon. He was a pioneer in oil shale technology before it became popular. His senior-management responsibilities with Exxon included Esso Europe and concluded in 1985, when he retired from leadership of Exxon’s Baytown, Texas, Research Laboratories. He remained in Texas until 2001, when he moved back to New Jersey, where he had lived during much of his career.
His favorite pastimes were stamp collecting and gardening, the latter showcased at his many homes. He was a member of the Morristown (N.J.) Knights of Columbus.
Ralph is survived by his wife of 68 years, Gloria; children Christine, Lorraine, Rosemary, and Ralph ’84; and nine grandchildren.