Memorial Service - April 9, 2022 @ 2:00 PM
Location - Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church
Henry deForest Ralph, Jr., age 88, passed away on January 25, 2022, after a sudden, brief illness. "deForest" is survived by his two sons and their wives and children: Forest III, Felicia, Carolyn, Emily, and Noah Ralph; Randal William, Catherine, Austin, and Brooks Ralph; sister Elizabeth Ralph Mertz; sisters-in-law Ruth Page Lawrence and Susan Page; and numerous nieces and nephews and their children.
deForest was born at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC on April 11, 1933, the second of three children of Dorothy Walker and Henry deForest Ralph. (Coincidentally, both his sons would obtain their undergraduate degrees at GU, taking classes in the same, converted old hospital building.) When he was fourteen, he was struck by rheumatic fever and appendicitis. To convalesce, he spent a year in Madeira Beach, FL where his grandfather, the Rev. Philip Ralph, had founded, and was the first minister of, the Church by the Sea. After his return to DC, the Ralph family moved to Tulsa, OK, which is where deForest met his wife-to-be, Martha Austine Page. They graduated together from Tulsa Central High School in 1951.

deForest studied Chemical Engineering at The Rice Institute, earning his B.A. and B.S. in 1955 and 1956, respectively. He and Martha were married while he was in school, the ceremony conducted by his grandfather at Martha's "airconditioned" Tulsa home on July 24, 1954. Upon his graduation, the couple moved to El Paso, TX, the city where their two sons were born. While there, deForest began his career as a refinery engineer for Standard Oil of Texas (Chevron). The couple returned to Houston in 1961, where they made their permanent home and raised their boys.
deForest would work for a handful of companies over the next 22 years: Trunkline Gas, Panhandle Eastern, the Pace Company, and Gulf Interstate. His longest stint was at Coastal States (Coal and Chemical Division), where he served as Vice President(s) of Economics and Planning and Wycon Chemical Company. In the mid-1980s, he formed his own consulting business and was co-editor of a local natural gas newsletter.
deForest loved Houston and embraced the Texas culture and ethos. He played roles in his sons' extracurricular activities, including Indian Guides, Boy Scouts, and Willow Creek Little League baseball. He got involved with Amigos de las America, his son Forest's later interest. He was active in the Houston Vintage Radio Association, inspired by his connection to his great uncle, Lee de Forest, one of America's early pioneer inventors in radio. deForest had a signature saying - "over and out" - when wrapping up a phone message.
deForest was a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Houston, a recipient of their Honorary Emeritus Life Member award, and was a Paul Harris Fellow multiple times. He spent many years volunteering for literacy and ESL programs at HISD elementary schools, including Tijerina and Golfcrest.
deForest was forever active with all things Rice: athletics, music, and academics. He loved the School of Engineering, and was President of the Alumni group REA in the 1980's. He established an annual scholarship prize to encourage Rice students to bring their engineering skills to bear on solving society's problems, naming it in honor of "Bob" Dickson, his roommate who died tragically in 1953 while on a Navy ROTC flight.
Lastly, deForest worshipped at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, serving in various lay leadership capacities over the years. His most fulfilling role was leading Emerson's involvement in their Partner Church program, firmly establishing a bond with Gregory St. Nickolas Church of Transylvania (Romania).
A few years after Martha's passing on August 5, 2012, deForest moved to the Brookdale Galleria Senior Living Facility. He enjoyed his Brookdale friends and was very fond of the staff. He served two terms as Chairman of the Resident Council, assumed various other leadership positions, and was an unofficial host of the weekly happy hours.
His sons give thanks to Tracy Ahrens, Brookdale's Director of Resident Programs, and all the various medical professionals who cared for deForest over the years, with special recognition to Dr. Stuart Solomon and the cardiology staff at Methodist Hospital.
A memorial service to celebrate deForest's life will be held at 2:00pm, on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1900 Bering Drive, Houston, TX 77057. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial contribution be directed to the R.K.M. "Bob" Dickson Prize at Rice University, Office of Development MS-81, PO Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251, or at