Ralph Burton Harry of Arlington, Va., retired senior vice president and treasurer of the former National Coal Association, died of cancer at his home Sunday, May 12. Mr. Harry was born March 20, 1930, in Winchester, VA, the son of Oscar Burton Harry and Louise Jones Harry.
In addition to his wife of 60 years, he is survived by two sons and their wives, and three grandchildren: Burton Lee Harry and his wife Jill, of Tarzana, CA, and their children Kathryn and Kyle; and Christopher Page Harry and his wife Cindy, of Gainesville, FL, and their daughter Molly. Also surviving are his niece, Anne K. Clark of Arlington, sisters Dorothy Lee Naler of Moody, Texas, and her children, Jim, Joe and Sandra (Norman), and Jeanne Elizabeth DeHaven (Thomas), of Chester, VA, and their daughters Paula, Kathy (Lewis) and Michele (Chris) and their four children.
Harry grew up in Winchester and graduated from John Handley High School in 1948. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy after graduation, serving four years during the Korean War in the Supply Corps at Annapolis, MD, and aboard the LST 306 in the Atlantic fleet. Following service, Mr. Harry graduated from Strayer College of Accountancy and served two years on the staff of Rep. Burr P. Harrison of Virginia’s then-7th Congressional District.
In 1956, he joined the National Coal Association, which represented the nation’s coal-producing companies and allied organizations. Over the next 36 years, he rose from administrative assistant to secretary and treasurer to vice president of finance, retiring in 1992 as senior vice president and treasurer. He also served as a corporate officer of affiliated associations for coal research and exports.
During his career, Mr. Harry was active in National Trade Association educational and management programs and completed requirements for Certified Association Executive status conferred by the American Society of Association Executives.
A resident of Arlington since 1957, he served as Cub Master, Methodist Church board member, trustee and choir member and advisory board member of local service organizations, and since 1988 was a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and a tenor in its adult choir. He was a member of Washington Golf and Country Club since 1966 and served after retirement as a president of its senior golfing association.
He enjoyed writing poetry, painting, gardening and golf, and was an avid fan of Washington sports teams. After retiring, he made gift birdhouses which replicated neighbors’ and friends’ homes, businesses and other memorabilia.
Harry married the former Helen Page Coble on July 26, 1952, at Christ Episcopal Church in Winchester.
A Memorial Service was held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Arlington last Friday with interment at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Winchester.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks contributions be made to Capital Caring Hospice at 950 N. Glebe Road, Suite 500, Arlington, VA, 22207.