We regret to announce the passing of Mass Retirees founder and former Association President Ralph White, who died this morning at the age of 92 surrounded by family.
Exemplifying a lifetime of public service, Ralph saw significant combat as a US Marine during the Korean War – receiving a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Following his military service, he entered state service as a Corrections Officer at Boston’s Charles Street Jail, prior to being among the first officers to staff Walpole State Prison. Ralph went on to become a state Parole Officer. He was forced to retire after surviving an on-the-job shooting in Boston’s South End – an attack that nearly took his life.
Together with a small group of retired state employees and teachers, Ralph founded Mass Retirees in 1968 at the age of 37. He served as Association President until his retirement in 2013 and is credited with having had a direct impact on the creation of nearly every public retirement law and policy over a span of more than four decades.
Ralph was a founding board member of the Commonwealth’s Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board. He also served as a longtime elected member of the State Retirement Board.
A longtime resident of Walpole, MA, Ralph also served his community. A diehard baseball fan, he was the longtime head baseball coach at Walpole High School and American Legion Post 104. In this capacity he helped teach and mentor countless young people.
“Ralph White was dedicated to making the lives of others better. I had the pleasure of knowing and working with Ralph throughout my 38 years of public service. There was never any question that he was 100% dedicated to helping people,” recalls Association President Frank Valeri. “I will forever be grateful to Ralph for the opportunity to walk in his footsteps as president of this great organization. Helping to carry on his legacy is the privilege of a lifetime.”
“Ralph was truly one of a kind. His passion for public service and helping people was unmatched. No one was more focused and driven by purpose than Ralph White,” said Mass Retirees CEO Shawn Duhamel. “I had the honor of working directly with Ralph for twenty years. To say he was my mentor is a vast understatement. Like many others who Ralph touched throughout his life, I can say that I would not be where I am today without Ralph White. By every definition, he was a great man who will be deeply missed.”
Our hearts go out to the White family, several of whom have played a significant role in building the Association and serving our members over the past 55 years.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend Ralph’s Life Celebration on Thursday, February 1, 2024, from 4 to 7 pm, in the James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home, 48 Common Street, Walpole. A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, February 2, 2024, at 10:00 am in the United Church, 30 Common Street, Walpole. Interment will follow at Maple Grove Cemetery in Walpole.
In honor of Ralph’s memory, a memorial scholarship has been established through the Walpole Scholarship Foundation. The Ralph W. White Memorial Scholarship will annually provide financial support to a graduating baseball player pursuing higher education. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to this scholarship (P.O. Box 58, East Walpole, MA 02032). For further details, please visit walpolescholarshipfoundation.org.
Please look to the upcoming March edition of The Voice for a full remembrance of Ralph White.