Ralf Eric Gilbert of Manheim (formerly of Yardley and Morrisville), passed away November 10, 2020. Ralf had many great accomplishments during his 87 years, but his family was always his primary focus. The son of Claude and Irella (Bearns) Gilbert, Ralf was born January 1, 1933, in East Rockhill Township, and graduated from Quakertown high school in 1951. He graduated from Gettysburg College in 1955. In college he met his life-long partner, Loretta. They were married in 1955. After a year of law school Ralf served four years in the U.S. Air Force, piloting a variety of large aircraft, retiring as a First Lieutenant. After the service he returned to Dickinson Law School and graduated in 1962 with his Doctor at Law degree.
He went on to have a distinguished career as an attorney for 50 years. Ralf was an Assistant District Attorney for Bucks County, and President of the Bucks County Bar Association. He established his own legal practice, specializing in family law and municipal law. One of his proudest achievements was being instrumental in starting and for many years serving on the Board of Directors for what is now known as the Legal Aid Society of South Eastern Pennsylvania.
Ralf was an avid hunter, fisherman and true lover of nature. He and Loretta travelled the Eastern U.S. on fishing vacations for many years and enjoyed spending time on their boat "Funtastic" in Belmar, NJ. Ralf's other life-long passion was family gatherings. Every year he hosted a Christmas party for his family where he would recap the family's accomplishments, with emphasis on each of his grandchildren. No matter how many people attended he always found time to chat with each guest, one-on-one. He was a charter member of St. John's Lutheran Church, Morrisville, PA, and was a member of the Church Council.
He will be remembered as a wonderful husband, father and family leader. He was not only a gentleman, but a truly sweet man, who cared about everyone he met, loved his family without question, and gave of himself freely.
He is survived by his loving wife Loretta and their three daughters: Linda Gilbert (Ray Wolf), Sharon DiPietro (Karl), and Diane Smith (Riley). Grandchildren: Casey, Karla, Riley and Eric. Step-grandchildren: Brenna and Ben. Four great-grandchildren: AJ, Axel, Quinn and Ryan. Sisters: Irene Smith and Susan Ellis, and his brother, John Gilbert.
Services are private at this time and will be livestreamed at 1:00 PM on Saturday, November 21, 2020 here: https://www.facebook.com/thedonohuefuneralhome/. A public memorial service will be held in the Spring. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Legal Aid Society of SEPA in Ralf's name at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/LASP.
Arr. by The Donohue Funeral Home, 366 W. Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, PA 19087, 610-989-9600. Online condolences www.donohuefuneralhome.com.