Ralph Hancox Obituary
 
In Memory of

Ralph Hancox

August 23, 1929 - March 22, 2017
Obituary

Ralph Hancox, latterly from Victoria, British Columbia, died 22 March 2017 at the fine age of 87 after a short stay at the Victoria General Hospital recovering from a fall. Ralph was born to Ada Frances Smith and Harold Barnsley Hancox in West Hamstead, England on 23 August 1929. He was predeceased by sister Sylvia (Gordon, deceased) and survived by brother John (Irene, deceased). Ralph was predeceased by his beloved wife of 61 years, Margaret Gilmour Frier, who he married in Ickenham, England on 5 June 1954. Ralph attended the School of Modern Languages, Regent Street Polytechnic in London, where he mastered the Pitman shorthand, a...
Ralph Hancox, latterly from Victoria, British Columbia, died 22 March 2017 at the fine age of 87 after a short stay at the Victoria General Hospital recovering from a fall.

Ralph was born to Ada Frances Smith and Harold Barnsley Hancox in West Hamstead, England on 23 August 1929. He was predeceased by sister Sylvia (Gordon, deceased) and survived by brother John (Irene, deceased).

Ralph was predeceased by his beloved wife of 61 years, Margaret Gilmour Frier, who he married in Ickenham, England on 5 June 1954.

Ralph attended the School of Modern Languages, Regent Street Polytechnic in London, where he mastered the Pitman shorthand, a prerequisite skill for his early career in journalism. In 1965, Ralph won a Nieman Fellowship recognizing excellence in Canadian editorial writing at the Peterborough Examiner and attended Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism. Later he joined Harvard's Program for Management Development as part of the PMD 26 cohort at the School of Business.

Ralph started his career as a pilot in the Royal Air Force at the tender age of 17. He trained in Rhodesia. He hurtled through the air in a variety of different aircraft including the Tiger Moth (which he described as a tin can), Harvard, and the first RAF jet, the Gloster Meteor. He flew in the Berlin Airlift in 1948, and later as a journalist covered the building of the Berlin Wall. In 1961, he reported on his experience travelling via the underground from East to West Berlin through the Wall. In Canada he started his career in journalism writing obituaries for the Kingston Whig Standard. After a career as Editor-in-Chief at the Peterborough Examiner as a colleague of Robertson Davies, he joined the Reader's Digest where he worked for 32 years. Ralph ended his first career after 16 years as Chairman, President, and CEO of Reader's' Digest, Canada and Consigliere delegato and chairman of Reader's Digest Italy. Post retirement he served as Adjunct Professor and Professional Fellow Emeritus at Simon Fraser University where he published a textbook on Managing the Publishing Process for the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing. There, he was honoured with the Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Service for 10 years of teaching before he retired again at the age of 80, in 2009.

Peg and Ralph (aka Hank) lived a life post-World War II in Canada pursuing family and career dreams in Kingston, Peterborough, Boston, New York, Montreal, Milan, Vancouver and Victoria, with summers at Sandy Lake and weekends of leisure in Vermont. He was inquisitive and over the years Ralph pursued his passion in photography, choral music, madrigals, travelling the world, writing and publishing 6 books exploring topics of social conscience, family history and publishing. Simple pleasures included sautéing the perfect scallop, bird and wildlife watching. A storyteller at heart, he regaled generations of family and students with lessons he learned from his rich life experiences. "Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement" he would say, quoting his mother.

He was a man of letters in the classic sense: fountain pen, elegant italic script to paper and daily journaling over the last 53 years. He engaged in written repartees, Olympian literary gymnastics with family and friends, including long time Peterborough friend and librarian, Bob Porter.

He was not an ordinary man. Robert Frost's words "I had a lover's quarrel with the world" describes the restless soul, the intimate relationships, the daily tensions, his ability to question and think deeply and at the same time embrace his life. His mind never rested as he explored life and the meaning of existence, to the day he died.

The unfinished business he leaves behind includes a never ending 20 foot long pile of uncut wood in Vermont and a half finished literary masterpiece.

Ralph leaves behind a wonderfully appreciative family who live with gratitude across Canada: Linda, Rick (Mary), Alison (Chris), Julian (Laura). Ralph is Morfar to Matthew, Liesel, Luke, Kenzie, Jessie, Isaac, Jessika, Dallas and Morgan and great grandfather to Anders and Rowan. Ralph leaves fond memories with the extended family and children of Sandra (Charlie), Suzanne (Kirk), Phillip, Lindsey (Steve), nieces and nephews of John and Sylvia's families in England.

A celebration of life will be hosted at First Memorial Funeral Services, 4725 Falaise Drive, Victoria on Saturday, 25 March 2017 at 3:30-4:30 pm. Following, friends are welcome to join the family at their home 5 - 6:30 pm for a reception. In the summer of 2017, service and interment for both Ralph and Peg will be held at the family plot in Cataraqui, outside Kingston, Ontario, with a special celebration and reunion of family and friends.

More information about Ralph's publishing career is found on the Fictive Press website (http://fictivepress.com/ralph-hancox.htm) and (http://www.abcbookworld.com/view_author.php?id=9671)

A writing project, he undertook in December 2016 with daughter Alison, with a compilation of poems, essays and letters, which shares Ralph's insights about
his understanding of the meaning of life can be viewed here. (https://alisonhancox.shutterfly.com/pictures/8)

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