Letters: Remembering Ralph Bowley

Worthy of our respect

There are certain people on this earth who make you feel good the moment you meet them. They have a positive aura about them that is unmistakable. People such as this are rare in a world that can be cynical and self-absorbed. Ralph Bowley was one such rare person.

Many have commented on Bowley's legacy, and done so eloquently. Bowley was my friend and my colleague in town government. He was friends with my wife and my father, as well. It seemed that Bowley was friends with everyone in Fairfield. That's probably not far from the truth. It is unfair that such a good person would be taken from us. He could have enjoyed a few more hikes, enlightened a few more town meetings, and his family and friends could have spent just a little more time with him, enjoyed his company just a little more.

Bowley would never complain, of course. He would never want people to feel sorry for him. He lived a life that was worth living. He gave everything he had, and he knew what was important; God, family, country and community. I will miss Bowley. We all will. The best way we can honor him is to honor each other, treat people with respect, and remember that it is a privilege to be alive and that we must give of ourselves while we are here.

The greatest compliment I can give Ralph is that he always reminded me of my father. I felt like his children were just as lucky as I was to have such a great dad. He was wise, caring and worthy of our respect and love.

Robert Bellitto Jr.

Fairfield

Proud of Bowley's legacy

On Sunday afternoon, while making a quick visit to my parents house, my heart was ripped out of my chest and I felt as if a part of my childhood was now gone. I was standing in my father's office when he told me that Ralph Bowley had passed away the day before. I couldn't believe it.

I have had the pleasure of knowing the Bowley family for more than 22 years, since I played soccer with Shannon from elementary school all the way until we were 18. We were part of the then 1979 Fairield Strikers, a team with the town's travel league. Not only we were a team to be reckoned with for years, but we were a family. This was the kind of team where we spent every weekend together at games or soccer tournaments. I don't think Ralph missed a single game of ours. He stood there on the sidelines, with all the other close knit parents, watching us play and proudly cheering Shannon on as she tended goal. I don't know how many times I have seen Ralph carry his daughter off the field for yet another broken leg.

Sometimes it felt like we spent more time together than we did with our own families, but it didn't matter because we all became one giant family. Not only did I play soccer with Shannon, but we also played softball together for the town's youth recreation department for The Sluggers, a team that Ralph coached. Ralph was a fixture in the awkward years of my youth and someone who helped mold me into the person that I am today.

After graduating high school I would bump into Mr. B at the driving range or running errands around town and he would fill me on what is going on with his life but there was never a time when he didn't ask me what my other teammates were now up too. He cared so much about the kids he coached and wanted us all to be the best we can be on the field and off.

A few years ago, when Ralph decided to run for office in Fairfield, I remember telling my Fairfield Citizen editor at the time, Pat Hines, that there was no way I could cover his bid for office. I couldn't imagine writing anything objectively about him. Writing an objective piece about Ralph during an election period is like writing an objective piece about your father: it's impossible. I didn't care what side of the aisle he sat on, his political views aside, I wanted him to win so badly. He deserved it. He loved this town too much.

I have read so many comments about Ralph's passing over the last few days that I have come to realize that his vision of what Fairfield could be has come true. Through all his years of dedication to Fairfield while volunteering his time through town commissions, youth sports and as selectman, he made such a positive mark on our great community. I for one will never forget what a kind, gentle and loving man he was. The Bowley family and everyone who has been touched by Mr. B should be proud of the legacy he leaves behind.

Erin Lynch,

Former Fairfield Citizen reporter,

Fairfield