By Kathleen Sullivan
Ralph Berger (known by everyone in Hurleyville as “UPS Ralph” to distinguish him from “Town Ralph” Burger), the son of Solomon and Pearl Berger, was born on December 9, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York.
Along with his parents and younger brother Lionel, Ralph spent his summers in Mountaindale where he developed a fascination with agriculture and farm animals.
Ralph attended Newtown High School in Elmhurst, New York. His curriculum in agriculture at the school required him to work on a farm during summer break, and he was able to work on the dairy farm owned by the Budd family in Mountaindale.
Upon graduation from high school Ralph moved to Sullivan County and worked at the Farmers’ Co-op in Woodridge. While working at the co-op Ralph met Mary Lou Shaddock from Waldorf Avenue in Hurleyville. Ralph and Mary flirted and dated for three months before marrying on June 7, 1959.
Ralph and Mary were the parents of three children: Mitch, Suanne and Penny. The family moved from Mountaindale to the old Osterhout farm in Hurleyville in 1966.
An employee of UPS for twenty-five years, Ralph retired from the firm in 1999. He enjoyed spending time with his family which now included seven grandchildren. His family fondly remembers him working outside taking care of his home and nodding off in his recliner. Ralph and Mary enjoyed traveling. Their trips often included visits to family and friends.
Ralph loved Hurleyville, his “hometown” and was an active member of the Hurleyville Fire Department.
In 2004 Ralph learned that Hurleyville was the hometown of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, Francis Currey. He made a presentation to the Town Board of Fallsburg requesting the board to officially honor Mr. Currey. Ralph was a member of the committee of Hurleyville residents that was formed to organize the first Francis Currey Day parade and ceremony that was held in Hurleyville on July 10, 2004. The committee also had Hurleyville’s Main Street re-named Francis Currey Boulevard.
Ralph passed away in 2010. He is remembered by family, friends and neighbors as a warm, caring and honest man with a wonderful sense of humor.
Ralph is one of Hurleyville’s many wonderful treasures.
Please visit www.hurleyvilleny.com to find more treasures in Hurleyville.