Ralph H. Goettler

obit photo

An early picture of Ralph Goettler. (between 1946 and 1951)

Ralph Hansell Goettler was born on October 23, 1929 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the Stock Market Crash. He was raised in South Side of Pittsburgh, Mt Oliver, PA on Brownsville Road, attended St Canice Elementary School and graduated from Central Catholic High School in Shadyside, Pittsburgh in 1946. Attended college at University of Pittsburgh, enlisted in the US Marine Corps completing boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina and was then based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Ralph was also proud to have worked the Cape May Beach Patrol in New Jersey, and solidified his love of the ocean.

He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a baccalaureate degree in psychology and began his professional fundraising career with Ketchum, Inc., headquartered in Pittsburgh. He married Barbara Eckel of Johnstown, Pennsylvania and they moved to Columbus, Ohio in 1960 and settled in Upper Arlington, where he raised his family. He had previously come to Ohio by way of a work assignment with the Ohio Republican Finance committee. He traveled the state, and worked actively in all eighty-eight counties in Ohio, which later served him well as he started his own firm in 1965.

Ralph remained active in Republican fundraising while he grew his firm, Goettler Associates, Inc into one of the most successful in the Midwest and beyond. He impacted untold numbers of individuals and organizations as well as the industry itself, over a forty year career. One rarely wondered what Ralph thought about an issue or topic. He quietly helped many individuals through direct support or by simply stiffening their spine.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Barbara: daughter, Lynne Helmer (Steve) grand-daughter, Anna, of Upper Arlington: son, David (Kris), grandsons Charles and Thomas and granddaughter, Robyn, of Upper Arlington; son, John (Valerie), grandsons Henry, N. Peter and granddaughter, Mary Grace of Jackson Hole, Wyoming; two nephews, James Goettler of Suquamish, Washington and Reverend Bill (Rev Maria LaSala) Goettler of New Haven, Connecticut. Ralph was affectionately known to many as “Big R.” He was a life member of Scioto Country Club and The Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier, PA..

He was the perfect example of “a family man,” and cherished his role as Papa Ralph. For the seven grandchildren, the memories of grilled-cheese, jelly beans and Graeter’s ice cream will be remembered and shared with generations. Or, simply treats before attending The Columbus Children’s Theatre, where he worked to instill his love for the theatre. Ralph also loved the ocean and made sure that his family felt the same way by taking many trips, first to the Jersey shore, then the Carolina beaches and later to the Caribbean. His favorites were Grand Cayman Island for the family, and smaller islands in the Grenadines for the “adults.” His special love was for flowers and he was happiest when gardening and especially in growing large dahlias. In his final years, he was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Special thanks go to the staff at First Community Village and the Roxbury Unit for their professional and compassionate care these past few months.

Family will receive friends on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 from 2-4pm at Scioto Country Club, 2196 Riverside Drive, Upper Arlington, where a Celebration of Life will follow at 4pm. Private interment at Union Cemetery. In lieu of flowers please offer support to Childhood League Center, 670 S. 18th Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205 or the Columbus Children’s Theatre, 177 E. Naghten Street Columbus, Ohio 43215 in Ralph’s memory.


An Image of Ralph from 1985, about 30 years ago.


RHG BEG circa 1960s

An Evening Stroll

An Evening Stroll