First Responders 08

       


Ralph McDaniel

September 13, 1936 ~ February 12, 2019 (age 82)

Ralph McDaniel was born on September 13, 1936, in Pittsburgh, PA to the late Henry McDaniel and Anna Guzouska.

Ralph grew up in the neighborhood of East Liberty and was educated in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, graduating in the class of 1966 from Peabody High School.  After graduating from high school, Ralph enlisted in the United States Military, serving in the Air Force, where he was stationed in the Azores Islands, Portugal as a Military Police soldier and often spoke of how beautiful the scenery was there.  He experienced being undefeated as a boxer in the military, once appearing on NBC's "Sports World".  Ralph later continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh, after entering the work field and having his children. 

From Ralph's first marriage to Mary (Riley), his first child was born, son Mark McDaniel, who grew up in Colorado.  Ralph married Pauline (Crawford, deceased) in 1963, and from this union, had three more children, Leslie, Roger (Kelly) and Kevin.  Mark, who was loved and adored as Pauline's oldest son, spent every summer of his childhood in Pittsburgh with his sister, brothers and cousins, until he went off to college.  In addition to fis four children, Ralph enjoyed six grandchildren, Michael, Jule, Faith, Jazel, Jada and Javon and had a special companion in his dog, Coco.

Ralph joined the Pittsburgh Police Department in 1968, joining older brothers, William,and Horace, all experiencing different positions and ranks within the department, with all three eventually promoted to positions of heads of their police stations with the rank of Commander.  Their younger brother, Thomas joined the force and worked as a motorcycle officer.

Within the police department he worked as a Patrol Officer, was assigned to the Special Deployment Division (SDD, now known as S.W.A.T.) and was promoted to first grade undercover Narcotics Detective, and Lieutenant, prior to his promotion to Commander.  Ralph watched his children follow in his footsteps.  Mark, became a police officer in Loveland, Colorado, his daughter Leslie and son Roger became Pittsburgh Police Officers, as well as Ralph's nephew, Gordon (Horace) and for a time, Ralph, two of his brothers, two of his children, and his nephew, all worked together on the Pittsburgh Police Department.  Ralph and his brother Horace retired together as Commanders in 1992.

Ralph was active, socially as well as physically.  He belonged to social clubs made up of friends from school, his job, and later in life, retired friends.  He  was active in his community, organizing meetings and petitions several times to help keep his neighborhood safe.

The YMCA in East Liberty was where he worked out with his sons from a very young age, and became friends with a well known wrestler of his time, Bruno Samartino, who he lifted weights with.

When Ralph attended Peabody High school, he excelled in football, becoming an All City Football Selection in his junior and senior year.  Ralph was also a member of the Peabody track team.  In November 2018, he was inducted into the Pittsburgh City League All Sports Hall of Fame, for his outstanding football playing.

Ralph always loved sports, he was an avid jogger, weight lifter, played on a softball team for the Detective Bureau and after retirement, he worked for the National Football League as a pot Checker for the Pittsburgh Steelers until 2011.

Prior to retirement, he used to mention that he looked forward to retired life because it would give him more time to work with his hands.  His brothers were talented in carpentry, he learned from them as well as from reading and talking with professionals, which allowed him to take on many remodeling jobs at his home and the homes of others and had a talent being able to fix many things.  He also loved yard work.  Ralph's deep attention to detail resulted in attractive, solid results and meticulously manicured yards.  Drawing was always a love of Ralph's, he created many realistic drawings and from a young age, always enjoyed jazz music.  He did a lot of house painting for himself and others and could paint a sharp straight edge at corners and moldings as if he had used painter's tape. 

Ralph always put his all into any project he tackled, but as serious as he was about any work that he did, he had another side that he shared with all his brothers and sisters.  They were all characters.  They all thought they were the funniest person who ever walked the earth.  Ralph, like the rest of them, told the corniest jokes, that everyone would laugh at, except for his mortified children, who wanted to melt from embarrassment, as I'm sure, all of the McDaniel cousins could relate to.  Ralph could tell a story that would have you hanging on the edge of your seat, whether the story was true or not.  The unknowing listener would learn that his story was not true as ir=t would get so outrageous that he would start laughing at himself, before he could even finish.  It was interesting to watch Ralph evolve through hos life, living life to the fullest, always as adventure, always on the edge, to a life of retirement where he really stopped to smell the roses.  Ralph and Pauline traveled together, really slowing down, and fully enjoying their lives.  He even started cooking, something he never seemed to do earlier in his life.  Ralph and his brother Tommy became daily fixtures at the local Starbucks that was inside their local Market District Giant Eagle where he would read the paper, have a coffee and befriend every employee at Starbucks and at Giant Eagle.  Quite a few years have passed since they have done this, but to this day, the employees still ask about him.

Ralph had a stroke in 2011, changing things for him physically, but he was still perfectly able to tell his corny jokes.  Ralph had a lasting effect on people.  He was serious, but always helpful, kind and welcoming.

Ralph was one of ten children.  His nine brothers ans sisters, Henry "Bucky", Jane, Rebecca "Becky", Horace "Holly", William "Popeye", Henrietta, Monica, Fanny and Thomas "Tommy", all preceded him in death.

He is sorely, painfully and agonizingly missed already, but along with that sorrow, there is joy in him being released from physical restrictions and entering a new dimension where noe HE is being welcomed with kindness, despite his corny jokes.

We will be together again...

 

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