Obituary: James Ralph, Teams Physician, Athletics Hall of Famer

Dr. James Ralph
Dr. James Ralph

Dr. James Ralph, 84, of Amherst, a retired physician for many university athletic teams, including the men’s and women’s basketball squads and the football team, died Dec. 21.

He was inducted into the UMass Amherst Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.

Born in Lowell on March 23, 1933, he was raised in Bennington, Vermont.

He graduated from Middlebury College, where he joined the Chi Psi fraternity, and received his M.D from Yale Medical School in 1959. He then served an internship and residency at Akron General Hospital in Ohio and from 1961-63 was stationed at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina as a captain in the Air Force.

He joined University Health Services as a staff physician in 1963 and retired in 1997 as staff administrator. His service included 20 years as assistant director of medical care. In 1991, he received a Chancellor’s Citation Award for service to the university. 

For many years, he was a member of the executive board of the Massachusetts Medical Society.

From 1964 to 1997, he was the team physician for the athletic department, and in retirement he was still a season ticket holder and a regular in the stands.

The captains of the 1986 football team gave him a special award for his service to them and former men’s basketball coach John Calipari gave him a Final Four ring in 1996.

He leaves his wife of 59 years, Edith; four sons, Jim Jr. and Ophelia Eglene of Weybridge, Vermont, Lee and Stacy of San Diego, California, Jon and Patricia Gibson of Manhattan Beach, California, and David and Marsha of St. Augustine, Florida; his sister Brenda and her husband Dr. Abraham Madkour of Manchester Center, Vermont; and his brother David W. Ralph of Hercules, California.

Donations may be made to St. Brigid’s Parish, 142 North Pleasant St., P.O. Box 424, Amherst 01004, and the UMass Amherst Athletic Department, 200 Commonwealth Ave., Amherst 01003.