Ralph B. Hartwell, 88, passed away peacefully on Friday Nov. 24 at his home in Londonderry.
Ralph was born in Leominster, Massachusetts on July 13, 1929, son of the late Elmer and Dora (Bouffard) Hartwell. The youngest of 6 children, his four sisters and brother pre-deceased him. Ralph proudly served his country for over fifty years – 20 years in the U.S. military (Navy and Air Force) before retiring and joining the U.S. State Department for an additional 20 years. He served in numerous embassies overseas – from Europe to Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. After retiring from the State Department, Ralph continued to serve on call for ten more years, often at embassies in dangerous locations ranging from El Salvador during its civil war to Sarajevo (Bosnia) just after the conclusion of the Balkans war.
Ralph lived for his family. He enjoyed a 59-year marriage with his beloved wife Lois, years filled with love, travel and adventure. Even after they retired to Hudson, New Hampshire, Lois still joined Ralph on many of his assignments around the globe. Ralph was once told by an ambassador overseas, “You and your wife cannot keep eating out in local restaurants – we’re in a war zone”. But their greatest enjoyment in retirement was their three children, ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren – and adorable Shih Tzu “Rufus.” Ralph also lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico for six years after retirement, before moving back to New Hampshire.
Ralph is survived by his two sons, Stephen (Pam Albertson) and Gary (Gail), and daughter, Leslie (David Dorman). He was predeceased by his wife Lois (Doland).
A memorial service will be held on Saturday Dec. 2, at 1 p.m. at Alvirne Chapel, 160 Derry Rd., Hudson. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to a charity of your choice. For additional information, please visit www.peabodyfuneralhome.com.