Ralph Walter Wisniewski, 84, of Portsmouth, passed away Thursday, October 5, 2023, at SOMC Hospice.
He was born November 1, 1938, in Cleveland, Ohio, a son of the late Walter and Helen Hudak Wisniewski.
Ralph, a lifetime educator, businessman, and community leader, graduated from Cleveland South High School in 1957. He continued his education by obtaining his Bachelor of Science in Education from Ohio University in 1961. He taught biological sciences and coached baseball and basketball at Euclid High School. He obtained his Master of Science degree in Botany from Ohio University and continued his teaching career at the Portsmouth Branch of Ohio University. Ralph continued his education with Post Graduate Studies at Yale University and Argonne National Laboratories.
Ralph was the former owner and President of Smith Drug Company in Portsmouth, Shawnee Restaurant, the JC Penney Catalogue Store, and Smith Home Medical.
His educational and business ventures led Ralph to become involved with many community causes and organizations. Ralph served on many boards including Mercy Hospital Corporation, U.S. Health Corporation, Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, Campaign Chairman of the United Way, Board member and past President of the Retail Merchants Association, Portsmouth Rotary Club, Board member and Treasurer of Southern Ohio Light Opera, Board member and past Chair of the Scioto Foundation and Scholarship Committee, SOMC Foundation Board, member of the Shade Tree Commission, Bonneyfiddle Association, and Shawnee Nature Club.
Ralph was an elder at First Presbyterian Church and honored as the Southeast Regional Chamber of Commerce “Person of the Year” in 1983. He was a devoted Cleveland Browns and Indians fan and enjoyed the Ohio State University Buckeyes
Ralph is survived by his wife, Julia Smith Wisniewski whom he married August 14, 1965 in Portsmouth; his children, Virginia “Ginny” Sturgill of McDermott, John (Andrea) Wisniewski of Medina, OH, and Taylor Wisniewski of Lexington, KY; six grandchildren, Izzie, Maggie, Michael and William Sturgill, Addie and Harper Wisniewski; two sisters, Janet (George) Ducic and Karen (Randy) Kreizenbeck; two nieces, Renee (Mike) Conklin and Dena Ducic; two nephews, Michael (Stephanie) Kreizenbeck and Grant (Gretchen) Kreizenbeck; many loving relatives; and favorite sister-in-law, Ginnybelle (Lauren) Wolfe.
A memorial service will be held 2 p.m., Sunday, October 15, 2023 at the Second Presbyterian Church, 802 Waller Street, Portsmouth. The family will receive friends and relatives from 1 p.m. until the memorial hour at the church. Arrangements are under the direction of the McKinley Funeral Home in Lucasville.
The family expresses their sincere thanks to Heartland’s staff and therapists as well as the staff at Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to; First Presbyterian Food Pantry, Ralph Wisniewski Botany Fund at Shawnee State University, or the UCAN Fund at the Scioto Foundation.