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SUGARMAN, Raphael “Ralph”

Raphael or “Ralph” as he was known to many of us, passed away Saturday, February 14, 2015. He was only 56 years old.

Born November 5th, 1958, Raphael grew up in Calgary where he left his indelible mark on the Jewish community. Witty, kind and urbane, Ralph left Canada when he was twenty to live in New York City. He went on a whim. One day, he was attending U.B.C. the next day he was phoning his family from the Vancouver airport telling them that he was going to live in New York City. That’s how Ralph lived his life.

A troublemaker when he was young, he matured into the gentlest of men. He was a tender hearted soul who found his way towards writing. Ralph became a journalist. He wrote for the Riverdale Press in the Bronx and then for the Daily News. His favorite beat was covering the New York City School System. Although a graduate in political Science, Raphael found more interest in people than politics. He was made an editor of the Daily News but he left the job because he missed his exposure to everyday people.

He started his own business, Blackboard Press. With Blackboard Press, Raphael introduced journalism to the curriculum of many New York secondary schools. His business was flourishing when it was caught short by the onslaught of illness. After his father died a year ago, Raphael gave up his life in New York City to move home to Calgary to take care of his mother Edith. Mother and son were a pair. Raphael delighted in showing her and all of his friends and family, the wonderment of life.

We will greatly miss his humour and humanity,. Rest in peace Raphael who gave us so much laughter. “Ma” Edith, sister Shelley, nephew Joseph, sister-in-law Perley, Moxie and all of your friends and family. In lieu of flowers please send a donation to your favorite charity

Funeral Services will be held at the Beth Tzedec Synagogue (1325 Glenmore Trail S.W., Calgary, AB), on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. with interment to follow at Erlton Jewish Cemetery.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Maxine Fischbein :

    Heartfelt condolences to you, Edith, and to all of Raphael’s loved ones. Meeting and getting to know Raph after his return to Calgary was a real pleasure for me. I enjoyed our conversations about writing, music, art and, of course, New York City. I’ll think of him when I hear good jazz or see a Klimt painting, especially his beloved, shimmering Adele. Raphael left this world far too soon; may his memory always be for a blessing.

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  2. How sorry I am to learn of Raph’s passing. Raph was such a talented, kind ,thoughtful and interesting guy- I will miss our conversations and our friendship throughout the years. I used to notice how Ralph had a unique way of making each person feel like they were the most important person in the room when he’d be engaged in a conversation with them- and he did this with an authenticity that is hard to match.
    What a loss for all of us …but he will certainly be remembered with lots of love.

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  3. I was Raphie’s first editor in New York. So sorry to learn this sad news. He was a cherished colleague for all of us at The Riverdale Press. My condolences.

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  4. Barbara Delin :

    Dear Edith, Shelley & Joey, I only heard about Raf’s passing this morning from a neighbor – I am in shock and now understand why Raf hasn’t responded to any of my e-mails. I would love to correspond with you Edith & Shelley for as you know Raf was a very big part of my life and my family all loved him as well. He’s left a big hole in many hearts and there will never be another Raf but I pray that he is at peace and that he and Norman are playing cards in a beautiful place. I lost my mother last year, as you know but losing Raf, so young and so talented is as big a loss. You have my heartfelt condolences and please let me hear from you when you are so inclined.


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