Ralph Joseph Stanwise
Ralph Joseph Stanwise
  • August 12, 1943 - October 22, 2017
  • Peoria, Illinois

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PEORIA – The Rev. Canon Ralph Joseph Stanwise died Sunday, October 22 at the age of 74.

Ralph was born in Brooklyn, NY, on August 12, 1943, to Ralph John and Dorothy Mae (Stecklein) Stanwise. He graduated from Brooklyn Tech H.S. and then received his B.A. from the Univ. of Denver (CO). He later received an M.A. From the Univ. of Wisconsin – Madison and an M.Div. from Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary, (WI). Following his ordinations as a Deacon and Priest in 1969 in the Diocese of Long Island, he served as Curate of Christ Church, Babylon, where he met and married Lynda J. (Seplavy) Stanwise on June 23, 1973. She survives, together with their daughter Elizabeth (Ryan) McEnaney, and their two wonderful grandchildren: Alisha and Alexander.

Fr. Ralph also served a number of parishes in the Dioceses of Milwaukee and Eau Claire (WI); as well as in the Dio. Of Albany (NY) and finally in the Dio. Of Quincy (IL) – where he served for 17+ years as the Canon Pastor of St. Paul's Cathedral, Peoria. He always loved pastoral work – caring for those who are/were sick or shut-in. Following his retirement (June 2011) – he continued to celebrate Mass on Mondays in the “Lady Chapel” of St. Paul's Church and then take Holy Communion and administer the sacrament of Unction to persons in either area hospitals, nursing homes, or in their own homes. He was also very active in the various dioceses in which he served and was elected five times to serve as a “Clerical Deputy” to various General Conventions of the Episcopal Church. He had a very strong commitment to Christian Unity and was appointed by the Bishop of Eau Claire and then, at a later date, by the Bishop of Quincy to serve as the “Diocesan Ecumenical Officer” - positions which he held for a total of 30 years.

Fr. Ralph loved all the members of his family and greatly enjoyed taking numerous vacation trips with his wife and daughter. He considered himself to be very fortunate in that he eventually visited all 50 of the United States as well as the Holy Land and more than 25 European nations. In recent years, both he and his beloved wife took numerous Caribbean cruises where they visited many different/beautiful islands.

In addition to traveling, he loved both classical music and “Broadway” musicals and also loved to read – especially historical novels. He enjoyed being raised in New York City and had come to greatly appreciate the “dark humor” often associated with Yiddish culture found there. As he approached his death, he often stated that the two most important things that helped him (along with the members of his family and the prayers of many) were the “grace of God” and his “wicked sense of humor”. He and Lynda also wanted to express special thanks to Susan, Angie and the rest of his hospice team.

A Funeral Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at 11a.m. on Saturday, October 28 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church (3601 N. North St., Peoria) – preceded by a Visitation from 9-10:45 a.m. The Committal Service will take place in the church columbarium immediately following the mass. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given either to St. Paul's Episcopal Church (“Pastoral Care”) or to the “Bp. Parsons Fund” at Nashotah House Seminary (2777 Mission Rd., Nashotah, WI 53058).

You may view Fr. Ralph’s obituary online at www.davison-fulton.com