Ralph DiGia Fund for Peace & JusticeIllusStainGlass


Do you have a special story or memory about Ralph? Or perhaps you have some thoughts about him that you’d like to share. If so, please share them here. Please note that comments must be approved, so they will not appear right away.

UPDATE: The comment section has been reopened.

Written by , updated 4/2/09


  1. In 1969 I was discharged from the US Navy/Marine Corps. I was a Hospital Corpsman at a MUST hospital, with the 1st Marine Division, in Da Nang, Viet-Nam during the TET offensive of 1968. I can home to NYC a very, very angry, bitter, cynical man. By very good fortune, I wandered into the War Resistors League office on Layayette St. Ralph took one look at me and took me under his wing. We fixed the boiler, we ate dinner, I marveled and learned from the wonderful man. He helped me take my burning rage and direct it into peaceful, anti war and human rights activities. I’ve been following Ralphs example and teachings ever since. You see, Ralph quite literally saved my life.

    PS – I am so pleased that the stained glass hanging that I made for Ralph and which he hung in the window over his desk is displayed here.

    Comment by Peter A. Poccia — May 6, 2008 @ 12:17 am

  2. I hadn’t seen Ralph is a good number of years, but I clearly recall his gentle good humor marked by his wry smile.

    My favorite memory of him comes from a WRL National Conference. I don’t remember just what year, but it was in the ’70s. My then-wife Linda and I attended and were hanging out with some other folks one evening, listening to ’60s rock and roll and dancing, when for some reason the subject of high school came up in the conversation. We discovered that several of us had graduated the same year, 1966 – and much to our laughing surprise, the number who did so grew from six to eight to ten or maybe a couple more. It was, we decided, a good year for nonviolent activists.

    And there was Ralph, right there with us, bopping to the ’60s rock. So we made him an honorary member of the Class of ’66 and laughed and danced the evening away.

    Comment by Larry Erickson — May 8, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  3. Dear Karen,

    I am so very sorry, and there is so little I can say.

    You know he was a much loved, admired and appreciated man. That must give you strength and support.
    He was very funny as well.He made me promise him, that I would never cook him pasta, knowing how we Dutch maltreat our pasta’s. I still quote him on that, and especially Italian friends will nod in agreement.

    Take very good care, dear Karen, and I will get in touch soon, to let you know my news.



    Comment by Margriet Prins — May 11, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

  4. Dear Karen:
    I always saw Ralph as a rock of peace, unmoved by the swirling torrents of violence around him. When I think of him, I see him smiling, with a quiet confidence that one day peace will come to the world,. . He was a person of prodigious energy and unswerving courage, and yet modest, an example for us all.

    Howard Zinn

    Comment by Howard Zinn — May 11, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

  5. Ralph was a true Gandhian — gentle, loving, compassionate, strong, yet humble and unpretentious. A real Mensch. His example will continue to inspire all those who knew and loved him.

    Comment by Walter Naegle — August 18, 2008 @ 6:55 pm

  6. Dear Karin and Danny,
    I can imagine how hard it is to be without a loved one, to be without Ralph even after a whole year has passed …
    I remember Ralph’s smile and his always gentle and friendly way. He was somebody you will always remember even if you’ve met him only for a short time.
    God bless you and your family,
    Chris Danowski (Dortmund, Germany)

    Comment by Chris Danowski — February 13, 2009 @ 5:07 am

  7. Dear Karen,

    I always wanted to let you know how sorry I am for you to lose Ralph.
    He was a really fine man, gentle and humorous, at the same time so clear about his ideas and convictions.
    It was great to come to know him thru you when he visited Hamburg / Germany some years ago. Still remember sitting in the garden at Anscharhöhe and also having you in our house at Brot & Rosen. Hope you yourself are doing all right?!
    All the best, I keep Ralph in my memories (actually a photograph of him, A. Hennacy and Dorothy Day hangs on our office wall), Shalom & Salam,

    Comment by Dietrich Gerstner (Hamburg) — February 15, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

  8. When I first met Ralph, I knew that he would be my best friend, forever.
    I called him Carducci, by the name of my favorite italian poet Giosuè Carducci. And indeed, Ralph was the Poet. He was a good man, who made others lives more beautiful, and for that beauty he fought with all his heart.
    For me and my familly he was and he stayed a holy man.
    With love,
    Nesim, Mirjana, Amel and Amar

    Comment by Nesim Tahirovic — June 23, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

  9. I was just thinking about Ralph and googled his name and was so saddened to read
    that he past away. I don’t have any anti war stories to share but one that is close to my heart, my beautiful daughter Emily. The DiGia family lived in the apartment under me for 20 years in Soho. When I gave birth to my daughter and didn’t have anyone to help or guide me with this new baby, Ralph came to my rescue in many ways…When I couldn’t stop Emily from crying and
    I was about to scream Ralph knocked on my door, I opened it, handed Emily to him and ran outside in desperation. He handled everything and when I came back things were in control and
    Emily was calm. From then on Ralph stopped by to give me a book on parenting ( which I needed at the time), read to Emily ( when she got a little older) and gave me a break when I needed it. He will remain in my heart always because just when I needed someone he was their. Ralph and Karin were and are people that did more than talk, they really did reach out
    and touch the world..

    Comment by Stacey Kadosh — August 24, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

  10. Karin,

    Ralph made sure that he would have the stomach for a fight–the Good Fight, as it is called. That is, life is a struggle, right until the end. Those that would avoid this truth, e.g., those that would make themselves “safe,” have cheated themselves. Whenever I feel “afraid,” and tempted to make myself “safe,” I have lost a part of myself for a time–until I can recover. Until then, I am living a lie.

    In that sense, Ralph was a rich man, i.e., he was blessed with the Truth. That is what it means to be a Beat, i.e., Beatified: they are blessed with knowledge of right living, and the will to see it through. To resist “the System.”

    Peace dear.

    Comment by Dean Taylor — September 7, 2009 @ 1:53 am

  11. What a shock to find out about Ralph. But..I was up in NYC in ’07. I was able to get to WRL and see him. I was so glad that I did this. What a peaceful, wonderful man he was. I worked with Karin DiGia at the Gallery, that was just below WRL. We had our ups and downs working together in the 80s. But all in all, it was a great experience. Out of the gallery came the Missing Children’s movement. Ethan Patz’ parents were involved. Theme shows on elder abuse, anti-nuke, hunger in America, and my own solo show….thank you Karin and thank you Ralph, for always being who you are.

    Comment by Ellen Turner — October 3, 2009 @ 10:32 am

  12. dear karen
    i remember our many conversations during the the war in the former-yugoslavia and our uniting to send supplies over there. A lasting and deep impression was to sit with you and Ralph on his birthday with Christo and Jeanne-Claude and eating a sumptuous meal and discussing politics and spirituality.
    I think of you and send you love and condolences for your loss.
    Sally in Austin Texas

    Comment by Sally Jacques — February 18, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment