Ralph Erhart Meyers

Jul 22, 1943 - Nov 5, 2011
Ralph Erhart Meyers, 68, passed away on November 5, 2011 at the Mayo Clinic Methodist Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. He was born July 23, 1943, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Marian Erhart Meyers and Ralph Edward Meyers. His parents, both having grown up in Wyoming, were part of the Diaspora that occurred during WWII. The family returned to Buffalo in 1946, so Ralph’s early memories were entirely grounded in Buffalo. He graduated from Johnson County High School in Buffalo in 1961 and he returned last summer to join his classmates in celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation from JCHS. When Ralph graduated from the University of Wyoming with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1965, he was also awarded a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, where he served both stateside and in Germany. After his military tour, Ralph entered upon a long career in social service, beginning as a counselor at Yellowstone Boys’ Ranch in Billings before returning to UW and completing his MA in Sociology, where his master’s thesis was a study of social conditions on the Wind River Reservation. He served next as the inaugural director of Ayuda Central, a health services and social services agency in Rawlins. As Ralph’s work with Ayuda became known, he was recruited to work in the Wyoming penal system, serving first on the staff at the penitentiary in Rawlins and then, for many years, at the Honor Farm in Riverton. His declining health and the diagnosis of the multiple myeloma that eventually took his life forced him to retire. Ralph was well known for his ironic, often caustic wit and for his astonishing memory for stories, music, and people. His stories will surely live on in the retelling for generations to come. He had a keen sense of social justice that informed both his career and his personal relationships. As a military veteran, he was skeptical of our armed interventions in recent years. In addition to many lifelong friends from Buffalo, he built many friendships among professionals with whom he worked as well as with the many people he served in his work. He also had many friends on the Wind River Reservation, especially among the Arapaho community, and most especially Rachel Dewey, for whom he was “Dad.” Ralph was preceded in death by his father, Ralph Meyers; mother, Marian Meyers Brown; and nephew, Michael Steel of Sheridan. He is survived by a sister, Molly Meyers Steel of Sheridan, nephew Heath Steel (Jennifer) of Sheridan and Amy Steel of Sheridan. He is also survived by his great nieces and nephews: Coy, Bren, Talia, Caden, Brock, and Dane Steel all of Sheridan.

According to his wishes, cremation has taken place and there will be a Celebration of Life memorial service in July in Buffalo, Wyoming.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Davis Funeral Home of Riverton.