Obituary: Ralph Rogosch, 1950-2019 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Ralph Rogosch, 1950-2019

'One of Enosburg's great characters' farmed, logged, protested war and practiced yoga

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Ralph Rogosch
  • Ralph Rogosch

Ralph Egon Rogosch died unexpectedly of natural causes at his home around October 26, 2019. Ralph was born on July 12, 1950, in Lynbrook, Long Island, N.Y., to Lisa and Egon Rogosch. He is survived by two cousins, Catherine Barisic and Ellen Leinhard.

He graduated from East Rockaway High School with the class of '68, a spirited and close-knit group that still keeps in touch through their reunions every five years. Voted "most excitable" in his yearbook, Ralph played on his high school football team. It was a serious knee injury from football that kept him from joining up and going off to serve in Vietnam like several of his classmates. Instead, he went to Cortland College in upstate New York. After his freshman year, he took off to see the country, spending time in Oklahoma and California before coming back east. According to legend, he had decided to go back west to Colorado when he stopped off in Vermont to visit a friend ... and never left.

Starting off as a farmhand at the George Kane Farm, Ralph gave everyone a smile by doing his yoga in the aisle after chores were done. He began a logging career with his first workhorse, Chico, who taught him how to get logs moving. Later, purchasing a second horse, Tonnerre, allowed him to work at sugaring as well, gathering the old-fashioned way with a team and buckets. Ralph graduated to tractor and winch, and then finally to a skidder, but he never lost the ability to do the careful job in the woods that logging with horses had taught him.

Ralph had many interests and was a lifelong learner. When he got his own place on Enosburg Mountain Road in 2009, he went to work to create an organic garden enriched with carefully made compost and planted according to the biodynamic principles he had learned from the Flack Farm. He would often trade his beets, turnips, greens and giant kohlrabis for some of the wonderful goodies at the Montgomery farmers market.

He was an avid reader, a regular at the Montgomery Library book-to-movie group, a spirited political debater who could play the devil's advocate — a "Bernie socialist" at heart who could always see the other side, as well. He loved to cook and loved music of all kinds. Nothing pleased him more than going to local concerts, especially when he got a chance to dance. He cared about conservation and was a member of Vermont Coverts and Cold Hollow to Canada, among others. He studied religions, was disciplined about yoga and meditating, and tried very much to live as a true Christian.

Because he lost friends in a war that was based on deceit and a faulty foreign policy, Ralph felt strong support for both veterans and for peace. He was a member of the Enosburg Peace Vigil and attended many anti-war demonstrations over the years. His struggle with arthritis led to both hip and knee joint replacements. His gratitude for the Medicare/disability coverage that saw him through these difficulties led him to work for a Medicare-for-all health care system that would make good health care available to everyone.

Ralph was someone who was content to work alone, who loved the beauty of the woods and the natural world around him, and who went for long walks often. But he was tremendously social, too — any shopping day was an excuse to stop and visit many friends — and he also enjoyed working with many friends over the years. He and his girlfriend, Nancy Wilson, were happy in recent years to become members of the United Church of Bakersfield, with Pastor Devon Thomas.

As some have put it, "Ralph was one of Enosburg's great characters" and a "big personality." He will be greatly missed by many friends.

There will be a service for Ralph at the United Church of Bakersfield and Fairfield on January 18 at noon, with a reception following.

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