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Team Ralph

Ralph Mann Picture

 

THANK YOU TO A YMCA LEGEND

Ralph G. Mann

October 6, 1929 to August 4, 2020

 

On August 4, 2020, our YMCA and the entire Southington community lost one of its greatest gentleman and a true YMCA legend – Ralph G. Mann. Ralph has lived in Southington, CT since 1936 when his family moved to town. He was a graduate of the Lincoln Lewis High School in 1946 and lived the rest of his life in the town of Southington, a community he loved and has given heart and soul to for many decades. “At the age of 90, Ralph would tell you himself that he lived a wonderful life in a great town that he cared very much about. He would tell you that he was blessed to have been surrounded by a loving family and great friends. I know this to be true, because these were his words to me on several occasions during our visits together earlier this year” stated Mark Pooler, YMCA CEO.

 

Ralph was known for his many roles in the community. Most notably might be his days at Southington Savings Bank from 1955 to 1992, with the last 10 years of his career being the Bank President. Ralph helped many families while at the bank. He can often be heard telling stories of how he gave people their first mortgage or helped out a struggling family with a loan when other banks would not. That is just the kind of man Ralph was; kind, caring and compassionate.

 

Ralph did not just live and work in the town of Southington – he gave back! Countless hours of volunteer time to various organization and numerous monetary donations that show his philanthropic pride and willingness to help others. Ralph heavily supported First Congregational Church, several community/civic organizations and of course the YMCA. His work in the community did not go unnoticed as he won countless awards for donating his time, talents and treasures. “I asked Ralph one day out of all the awards that he had won over the years, which one was his favorite. He said, ‘come on – I will show you’. He led me upstairs in his house and showed me a picture of a group of young kids from YMCA Camp Sloper holding up letters that said: ‘THANK YOU’. We had given that to Ralph a few years back for his continued support of the Y. Ralph told me that of all the plaques, trophies and awards he has gotten, this one was his favorite. He looked at me and said ‘Mark, it is all about the kids – they are the future’. That moment always stuck with me” stated Pooler. 

We can’t possibly thank Ralph enough for all the generosity he has shown the YMCA. Ralph is one of the cornerstone volunteers that has led our YMCA to success over many years, in turn, allowing the Y to help countless other families and children. Ralph’s leadership and involvement at the Y dates back into the 1950s when he worked out at YMCA Camp Sloper in the early years of day camp. He continued to be involved for many years as was the President of the Board of Directors from 1964 to 1966. From there, his involvement in the Y never dwindled. He would continue as a faithful member, donor and volunteer until his passing in 2020. He helped on numerous committees, projects and fund raising drives for the YMCA for many, many decades. “I was blessed to have Ralph as a mentor and friend during my time in Southington. From my earliest days at the Y as a young program director through two capital campaigns, Ralph introduced me to many community leaders and friends of the Y. There was no better Y ambassador in our community” stated John Myers, former Executive Director of the YMCA.

 

Ralph had a special place in his heart for our YMCA Camp Sloper Outdoor Center which is located across the street from his house on East Street. He spent countless hours clearing the trails, fixing up the property, clearing trees and brush and making annual improvements to the facility. Some of his favorite features of the property were the 19-acre Sloper Pond, the trails and the historic Red Barn built in the 1830. Ralph helped to lead the renovation project of the Red Barn in 2008 and is largely responsible for this iconic structure being in such good condition today. While Ralph has made countless treks with friends and family on the Green Trail around Sloper Pond, one of his other favorite trails is the White Trail. “I remember carving out the White Trail with Ralph in the early 2000s. He told me he had an idea for a new trail, handed me his chainsaw and a can of gas and said ‘follow me’. Several hours later the White Trail was born with challenging terrain and amazing views from the top of the mountain. I will always think of Ralph when I hike that trail” stated Pooler. Ralph was inducted into the Sloper Hall of Fame in 2006 along with his good friend and former Y Director Doug McLeod.

 

Ralph did live a wonderful life in a great town that he loved. He was surrounded by a loving family and great friends and he was truly blessed. Those who knew Ralph for a short time or for a life time – were also blessed. Ralph was the ultimate gentleman; polite, respectful, and courteous to all. His friends and family also know he was a terrific story teller and enjoyed his wonderful sense of humor. Ralph had the ability to take over the room with his larger than life personality or simply sit back and enjoy a good story or conversation led by someone else. “I have been truly blessed to enjoy Ralph Mann’s company as a boss, Y-volunteer and friend for 45 years. A more gentile man you will not find. He had a kind word for everyone and saw the best in us. Ralph was a leader in many ways teaching us hard work, compassion, generosity and volunteerism. Many times, he told me the greatest loves of his life were his family, his church and his community. 'Happy Trails' dear friend – you will be greatly missed” stated Tony Priore, former CFO at the YMCA and co-worker of Ralph Mann at Southington Savings Bank. 

 

Ralph G. Mann is a true YMCA legend and community hero. He has been an inspiration to many and his spirit lives on in those who knew him and loved him. Thank you Ralph Mann for being a gentleman, mentor and supporter to so many in the Southington community. You will be missed – but never forgotten! 

 

The YMCA has developed a memorial fund for Ralph Mann to pay for a bench that will be placed next to his good friend Doug McLeod’s bench in the YMCA Memorial Forest. Additional funds will be used for a scholarship for YMCA Camp Sloper. If you are interested in making a donation, please mail a check made out to the Southington Community YMCA, c/o Ralph Mann Memorial Fund – 29 High Street, Southington, CT 06489 – Attention Mark Pooler. For more information on the fund feel free to contact Mark Pooler at 860-426-9508 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ralph Mann Obituary:

 

https://www.plantsvillefuneralhome.com/obituary/Ralph-Mann

 

Sincerely,

Mark Pooler

Chief Executive Officer

SOUTHINGTON-CHESHIRE COMMUNITY YMCAs