Father Ralph Karst


Ralph Melvin Karst, 80, a resident of 914 N. Fifth Street, Manitowoc, died on Dec. 4, 2008, at Aurora Medical Center in Two Rivers, due to complications from a recent diagnosis of lymphoma.

Ralph was born Melvin Francis Karst on Aug. 14, 1928, in Oshkosh to the late Friedrich Charles Karst and Emma Marie (von Fuchs), and was the youngest of 13 children, including Irene (Bayer), Rosalind (Keeler), Eugenia, Florence, Loretta (Dewing), Eugene, Germaine (Rasmussen), and Ruth (Tobisch), and half-siblings Henrietta (Titus), Frederick, Helen (Paulsen), and Sylvester.

He attended Marquette University, The Catholic University of America and the Gregorian University in Vatican City, and holds several advanced degrees. In September, 1948, he took the name Ralph Melvin Karst when he became a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorian Fathers). He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1953 in Vatican City. He served as a professor at the former Salvatorian Seminary in St. Nazianz for several years after his ordination. After many years in religious life, Ralph left the Society of the Divine Savior.

In 1971, Ralph married Cheryl Beryl Reid of Buffalo, New York. Dedicated to improving the human condition, Ralph worked as a clinical psychologist until just a few years before his death. He worked primarily with the mentally and physically disabled, helping them to realize their full potential.

Ralph is survived by his wife of 37 years, Cheryl; two children, Kurt Reid and Erik Philip, and their spouses Amanda (Hendrickson) and Sarah (Branyon); four grandchildren - Noah Ellington, Jonah Coltrane, Isabelle Beate and Andrs Rasmussen; one sister, Loretta, and numerous nephews, nieces and cousins. He was a committed and loving husband, father, grandfather, and brother, and his presence will be deeply missed. Ralph left an indelible imprint on his family and the many people he worked with over the years - in both his religious and private life.

A celebration of Ralph's life will be held at the Harrigan Parkside Funeral Home, 628 Water St., Manitowoc on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008, from 11 a.m. until the time of the memorial service at noon. The Rev. Loren Nys, S.D.S. will officiate, and interment of his cremains will take place in Forrest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, N.Y. at a later date. The memorial service will be followed by a reception. For details, please call (301) 785-5444.

The Harrigan Parkside Funeral Home and Crematory, Manitowoc, is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Society of the Divine Savior, 1735 Hi-Mount Boulevard, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53208 (phone: (414) 258-1735).