Ralph Smith, 64, citizen of New Hope and the world, musician, IT guy, dog lover and eternal teenage hippie, died unexpectedly on April 23. He passed on peacefully, with his wife, Lisa Tice, and his beloved stepdaughter, Christina Kaiser, and her fiancee, Tim Nayfield, by his side.
Ralph was born to Robert Edward Smith and Gloria Baird Smith on Aug. 25, 1950. His parents adored him, but when he was two years old, his mother contracted polio, and Ralph had to be sent to live with his grandparents. After Gloria did rehabilitation for one year on the polio ward, Ralph’s parents were able to reunite the family, along with a new daughter, Robin Smith Davis. In 1958, the family was joined by David “Teddy” Fisher, who Ralph always considered his brother.
The family lived on an idyllic farm in the Sourland mountains of Hopewell, with acres of woods, gardens and animals. Ralph found many life-long friends at Hunterdon Central High School, and still played rock and roll with many of them right up to his death. Ralph adored music – playing, singing, and teaching young teens at Solebury School, where he worked as a “network badass,” all about the history and sound of great rock and roll. Although he traveled the world as a roadie with rock and roll bands from Aerosmith to Paul Simon, he always came back to New Hope, which was the town of his heart, and the Delaware River, which was “his” river, and John and Peter’s Bar, which was “his” bar.
He married Lisa Tice in 2010 and found through her the two girls he always considered his daughters – Christina and Amanda Kaiser. He adored and thought the world of them. Ralph had a fund of funny stories, an extraordinary way with words; he had read everything, wrote a Facebook page that was filled with fascinating news, and was loved by a host of friends. He had an extraordinary love of life and brought enormous enjoyment to the people who loved him.
He is survived by his wife, Lisa Tice; his daughters, Christina and Amanda Kaiser; his sister, Robin Smith Davis; his brother, David Fisher; his nephews and nieces, Brian, Wendy and Dawn and their children; and his aunt, Claire Ludlow.
No flowers, please. Ralph’s friends know how much he and Lisa loved their dogs, Prudence Poozler Peabody, and Cordelia “The Cankler” Corgi. Anyone who wishes to honor Ralph’s memory with a contribution can send it to Lisa Tice, c/o Garefino Funeral Home, 12 N. Franklin St. Lambertville, NJ 08530. This will be used to fund the Ralph Smith Dogwalking campaign.
A Memorial Service will be held in Ralph Smith’s remembrance on Tuesday, April 28, 10:30 am at Solebury School, 6832 Phillips Mill Road. Please allow extra time for parking and walking to the gym. The students and staff will be managing the shuttle buses available for remote parking. Friends may gather after the service at “his” bar, John and Peter’s, for an all-day “Rock and Roll Party.”