Ralph “Alex” Edward Alexander, 70, passed on Sunday, April 28, 2019 in Camarillo, California. Born on a brisk fall day in Sacramento, CA, on November 15, 1948, Ralph was the son of Ernest Alexander and Erlene Ima (Coleman) Alexander. Brother to three siblings, devoted father, philosopher, marine biologist and musician, Ralph was a man who held science and spirituality close to his heart.
As a young man growing up in warm San Bernardino, California, Ralph enjoyed adventurous days with his three mischievous brothers under the watchful eye of their mother, Erlene. When his father, Ernest, took a military position with NATO, their family explored life in parts of Germany and Europe. After returning to the states, he attended Colton Union High School and later served seven years in the United States Air Force Reserve and Navy Reserve.
Ralph became a talented free diver and scuba diver, and an inquisitive scientist while studying marine biology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. There he ignited a life-long love for the natural world that flourished beneath the ocean waves—striped and spotted creatures and secret habitats that put all array of life's beauty on display. He was fascinated with patterns in nature, like the diffraction of light on butterfly wing scales, and often daydreamed ways in which they could be applied to new scientific innovations.
When marine biology wouldn’t pay the bills, he sought a government job as a Naval Industrial Hygienist to support his family—his wife June, young son Christopher and daughter Arlen. It was a well-fitting niche and the beginning of a 30 year career that would allow him to use his scientific knowledge to do meaningful work protecting the health and wellbeing of the military men and women who protect our country.
Ralph was a voracious reader, drawn to hard science fiction, and had a grand imagination. Curious about our universe, he believed with conviction that our human species will one day leave our planet. “I probably won’t see it in my lifetime, but you might,” he would say, looking quietly up at the sky. He also studied Wing Chun Gung-Fu, and through martial arts learned a deep appreciation for the balance of the natural world, and his own role within it.
Ralph played piano and guitar, and loved the thrill of seeing live music. He was always humming a tune or whistling a melody. He believed that in order to live a full life, we need to keep music in our lives. “The silence between the notes are as important as the notes themselves,” he would say while listening to music with intent, trying to interpret rhythms and chords as though there were truths to be uncovered beyond the notes.
In his later years, he cultivated friendships within the Camarillo community, spending many long afternoons sipping a small black coffee, reading a paperback book and dreaming up ways to solve our world’s problems.
Ralph will return home to the Pacific waves that brought so much inspiration and color to his life when he was a young man struggling to define his own existence. And now his spirit is free to shoot across our universe like a comet, and discover the answers to all of the questions he had. And maybe one day he’ll find us a landing spot on a planet for our next civilization, someplace safe and secure—because that’s what he did best—he protected us and guided us.
Ralph is survived by his son, Christopher (Moury) Alexander, and daughter, Arlen (Joseph) Alexander Lezama; former wife June Crail Alexander; brothers Donald (Julie) Alexander, Douglas (Leslie) Alexander (deceased) and Alan Alexander (deceased). Services to celebrate his life will be held on Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 1:00 P.M. at Conejo Mountain Funeral Home, 2052 Howard Rd., Camarillo, CA 93012.