Ralph F. Blecha, son of Charley and Leona (Hardenburger) Blecha, was born 13 January 1943 at the R.G. Patterson Memorial Hospital in Belleville, Kansas. He died on 1 February 2019 in Lawrence, Kansas, at the age of 76 years and 19 days.
Ralph attended grade school at Tabor Rural Public School, and graduated from Belleville High School in 1961. He then studied at the Conservatory of Music, UMKC, Kansas City, Missouri. He worked from 1967-1976 as opera coach, accompanist and rehearsal pianist for the Amato Opera Theatre, and the New York Grand Opera, in New York City. This was followed by working for the Opera Company of Boston, in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1976-1984, Ralph worked as Music Therapist at Morningside House Nursing Home, Bronx, New York, and at Marcus Garvey Nursing Home, Brooklyn, New York. He eventually became director of AGED Senior Center in Bronx, New York, along with being Parish Musician at the Episcopal Church of St. Edward the Martyr in Spanish Harlem, New York City. In 1978, Ralph was proud to have helped with the creation and incorporation of Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE) New York City. In 1984-1994, he was the receptionist and support secretary at the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio in Cleveland, Ohio. While there, he worked with the Assistant Bishop, the Right Reverand William Davidson, the retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas. He was also the Parish Musician at All Saints Episcopal Church in Parma, Ohio. While in Ohio, he volunteered at Kamana House (AIDS Hospice) in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 1994-2001, he returned to New York City, and was Parish Musician at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Astoria, New York, and was secretary at the church of the Intercession in Harlem, New York City.
Ralph returned to Kansas in 2001, and worked as the Administrative Assistant for the Douglas County AIDS Project (DCAP), and as the rehearsal pianist for the Choral Department, University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, Charley and Leona Blecha. He is survived by his twin brother, Robert E. Blecha of Hays, Kansas, and his older twin brothers, Loren C. Blecha of Kansas City, Missouri, and Louis J. (Janet) Blecha of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, along with many cousins, relatives and friends. Most important to him was the love for all of God’s creation.
S' Panem Bohem, Ralph.
Memorial Services will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2019, at 1:00 p.m., at the Presbyterian Church in Cuba, Kansas, with inurnment following at Tabor Cemetery, rural Cuba. Ralph requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas, and can be sent in care of the Funeral Home.
Tibbetts-Fischer Funeral Home of Belleville assisted the Blecha family with these arrangements.