Ralph J. Lynas
Obituary for Ralph J. Lynas
As I write this story I am thinking of a very nice, good, kind gentle man with whom I lived for 58 years.
We were married from Trinity Church, Bangor Northern Ireland on 3rd June 1963 at 1.00pm and left for Canada at 7.00pm that night on board the Empress of England with friends Queenie and Bill on an adventure from the old country to the new. Ralph left behind his mum and dad and sister Myrtle and I left my mum and brother Kyle and sister Pauline and cousin Brenda. My older brother Bill was already in Canada. We also left family members, friends and acquaintances we have known since childhood and adulthood from church, school, and social activities, especially Saturday night dances. For Ralph he knew he would miss best friends Stanley (May) and Alan (Helena) football (soccer) buddies also “social” visits to The Castle Arms. For me it was family, old friends and Elizabeth however we were off together on an adventure and hoping all would turn out well (it certainly did). Our love of dance began at school where girls were exposed to twice weekly dance classes. Ralph didn’t need teaching, he was a natural and he did get his bronze medal, dancing with Helena (before I arrived on his scene). Helena (Tina) was the friend who first persuaded me to go out with Ralph though I had known of Ralph for years through school and Church. I thought he was so serious as he didn’t smile a lot. He did tell me he was smiling inside.
1963, we arrived in Canada at night, docked under the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec. Bill and Queenie went west to Brampton, Ontario and we went east to Saint John New Brunswick where Ralph already had a position with Irving. We were adopted into the McVea family, Margaret, Billy, Johanne and soon to arrive, Paul, our Godson. Margaret and Bill introduced us to friends in Saint John and we did enjoy our 13 month stay in the city living in a fully furnished bungalow before making the move to an apartment and we bought three rooms of furniture from Sears for $699.00.
From Saint John we moved to Brampton Ontario, home to Queenie and Bill, Stephen and Lynn. Ralph worked for DeHavilland Aircraft, eventually working on to the FHE 400 Bras d’Or Hydrofoil which took us to our next Canadian stop Sorel, Quebec where we again met new friends and acquaintances and where we were first exposed to Curling and also started our travel bug by taking a three week holiday in Jamaica.
The hydrofoil project took us next to Halifax, Nova Scotia where we bought our first home in 1969 on spec, as we were supposed to return to Ontario. Caudle Park was where we first met Marlene and Bob (Rudderham) Jeff and Jody who have remained constant and super helpful throughout our friendship and especially during Ralph’s very short illness. After 50 years in the house we sold the property and moved to an apartment. Ralph loved our apartment and, most afternoons you would find him sitting in his favourite spot in the lobby in what he called Chat Room where he never missed the opportunity to grill residents on where they came from or what they worked at before Friesian Court. He was a people person, with a phenomenal memory for names and places. I always relied on him to remind me of names and dates. I really think I became known as “Ralph’s wife”.
He also had a long association with friends and competitors from the construction business, BIO and was a member of the Bedford Lawn Bowling Club and the Canadian DanceSport Federation.
We joined the Mayflower Curling Club in 1970 and enjoyed the social and competitive curling and the Saturday night dances. It was at the curling club where we met lifelong friends, Eric and Anne (MacNearney) Marguerite and Harrison (O’Brien), Chal and Ione (Anderson) and their family members Eric and Ralph went into business as construction contractors and managers. We loved to dance at the curling club. Florence Ivany invited us along to a Canadian Ballroom Dance Championships held at, the then Hotel Nova Scotia, where we met an English couple, dance teachers Len and Ann Hart. Len invited us to check out their dance classes and that was the beginning of our dance experiences starting at beginner level and moving on up to eventually dance in amateur competitions. Roy and Janet Henneberry (Dartmouth) were our second dance coaches and we had many good social times and travels around the Maritimes and Ontario dancing in amateur competitions, accompanied by Joan (Henneberry). Jane Edgett was our final dance coach for amateur competitions and in 1988 Jane put us through our paces to gain our professional status when we formed our company Come Dance Associates in 1988.
We began looking for a venue to hold classes and just by chance Ralph met a friend who suggested the Bedford Lion’s Club had a large dance floor so we checked it out one Saturday and met Pat Morrison, the Recreation Director, who informed us she had attempted social dance classes for three years with little success, but was willing to try again. I believe Richard and Marina were the first to sign up. The first night we showed up with our music and equipment for our very first class it turned out we had enough registrations for 2 and ½ classes and, from there it just grew like topsy, in a very good way. We had three classes per night and Friday Night Dances. We had a marvellous time at the “Lynas Den” for 12 years until we decided to cut back at bit as we were both holding down day jobs too. We taught at other venues and finally ended up teaching only on Sunday afternoons at Stadacona Halifax - then Covid 19 stopped everything. Throughout 32 years of teaching dance we thoroughly enjoyed meeting people and watching them grow into very good dancers who enjoyed the competitive and the social side of the sport as much as we did. Once the dancers started arriving for class, we were never tired, as music and movement is so good for body and soul.
With the help of many of our dancers we staged special events on Friday nights including team matches when each group picked a theme and dressed and choreographed to represent the theme. We never knew what was going to show up on the floor, we only ever got a cassette of their walk on music so we were always surprised and delighted at the teams ingenuity. One team in particular became known as The Tim Bits and this team came with us to other dances in N.S. and N.B. Team matches were hilarious.
I am finding it difficult to talk about Ralph in the past tense so I will continue as “we” as a friend reminded me we were a team and we were very lucky to have a good life together for 58 years.
I always knew he was a nice, caring man and I now know many others agree with me judging to the many, many responses I have received. Cards, letters, flowers, food, hugs (virtual), telephone calls, emails, etc.
My thanks go out to very good friends who have helped me over the past two weeks and I know will continue to do so. My thanks also to the nurses, staff and doctors on the 6th floor of the V.G. They were very caring and helped me through the rough times.
Ralph wrote me a note his second day in hospital when he knew he was not going to make it home. He asked me for paper and pen and suggested I go for coffee. He handed me what he had written and in part, it said “such a nice life we have had together. Such a good friendship we had with love from my wife, all 58 years”. A note I will treasure. There are many adjectives to describe Ralph and I know them all.
With apologies to many more friends and acquaintances I could acknowledge through curling, dance, business, etc., over the years and no doubt I will recall other incidences however, I could write a book about our life and travels throughout Canada the U.K. and Europe also I often said we should have kept a record of the funny comments our dancers made during class, mainly about each other.
Cremation has taken place and sometime in the safe future we will celebrate Ralph as this kind, decent, and generous man who made me laugh with his sometimes weird sense of humour. Please feel free add your memories and photographs to Ralph’s story on the website www.donaldkwalker.ca
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