Eight Bells: Ralph Carlton

Ralph Carlton, age 89, of Marblehead, Massachusetts passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on March 20th, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Ralph, a lifelong Marbleheader, was a Navy veteran, an avid sailor, a community leader and mentor, a skilled accountant and businessman, and most importantly a proud father and grandfather and a great friend to all. He loved recounting his adventures growing up in Marblehead, including selling flounder door-to-door, shipping muskrat pelts he trapped in Steer Swamp to Chicago to earn money for his first bike, and incurring a serious leg injury at 13 when he was accidentally shot with a cannonball fired by the Marblehead Fire Department during a town V-J Day celebration.

He served in the United States Navy in the Mediterranean during the Korean Conflict. After serving his country, Ralph continued working in the family business, Marblehead Laundry, while attending Bentley College at night to acquire his bachelor’s degree in accounting. Ralph loved the ocean and was a fierce sailing competitor, beginning his racing career in one design classes including Tempests, Lightnings, and his Shields which he raced with family and friends. He was a member of the Boston Yacht Club for more than 40 years and skippered his boat Corsair on Wednesday evenings, routinely treating his crew to burgers and beers after each race.

Highlights of his sailing career, beyond the many first-place finishes and trophies, include ocean racing in the Newport to Bermuda Race, participating in the 150th Anniversary of the America’s Cup race around the Isle of Wight, and sailing on Valiant in 12 Metre races in the Mediterranean as well as up and down the East Coast…

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