Remembering Ralph L. Heitt, 1932-2021

Family and friends are remembering Ralph Heitt and sharing this with his community:

Ralph Leon Heitt
1932 – 2021

Ralph died January 21 (age 88) at Swedish Hospital, Cherry Hill, following a heart attack and stroke. His wife Betty was grateful to be at his side during his final hours and extends sincere thanks for the sensitive and excellent care Ralph received in the Swedish neuro and cardio units.

Ralph was born in Bonners Ferry, ID to Ralph and Edna (Walters) Heitt. He was preceded in death by his parents and former wives, Pat (son Greg) and Marie (daughters Sue, Pam, Betsy, Andrea, Annette). In addition to his loving wife Betty (Williams), he is survived by his devoted son Greg (wife Betsie and daughter Kathleen) of San Diego, CA; two brothers, Jerry (wife Mary) and Don of Tekoa, WA: and his loving extended family, Betty’s sister Margie and husband John, with sons Matt (wife Sarah, children Brooke and Ridge) of Naches, WA; and Steve (wife Erin, children Lucy and Katherine) of Durham, NH; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.

As an Episcopalian, Ralph was an active member, serving on vestries and/or acting as church handyman, also volunteering with a church thrift shop and making sandwiches with Northwest Harvest. In 2007, he and Betty joined other church volunteers to prepare damaged homes in New Orleans for reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina. Their current church family, St. Clements in the Mt. Baker neighborhood, has been very caring and supportive.

Ralph proudly served with the US Navy in the Seabees (CB – Construction Battalion), building construction projects at Subic Bay, Philippines. His Seabee training served him well in his lifetime career as a land surveyor and construction project inspector; working for Entranco Engineers and several cities in Washington. His work also took him to Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, and Oregon.

For many years Ralph enjoyed playing golf with a weekly foursome. At home he was an avid reader, enjoyed DIY projects in and around his home, crewed on sailboats out of Shilshole Bay Marina, skied in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Canada. In 1981, as an early celebration of his 50th birthday, he climbed Mt. Rainier with dear friend (and matchmaker) Ed Berschinski,. His love of the outdoors probably began with stream fishing in Idaho in his youth with his parents and brothers. He enjoyed camping, white-water rafting on Washington rivers, and hiking with family and friends, especially at Mt. Rainier, where he and Betty were married.

During their 40+ years together, Ralph and Betty enjoyed many travel adventures. These included: garden tours of England, Ireland, Scotland, France, and Italy; touring the canals of Venice; hot air ballooning over Cappadocia in Turkey; snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea off Costa Rica; snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef in Australia; shopping for cigars in Havana, Cuba; soaking in the Blue Lagoon and seeing the Aurora Borealis in Iceland; a trans-Atlantic cruise – South Hampton to New York on the Queen Mary 2; swimming with turtles in Hawaii; viewing exotic animals in New Zealand, Australia, and Tasmania.

Ralph loved holidays – putting up decorations for Easter, Halloween, and Christmas – to the delight of neighborhood children and the child in himself. He enjoyed parties with friends – whether casual, costumed, or formal – always a good sport – whether serious or silly. Ralph was a good man who treated people with warmth, respect, and sincere caring. He will long be remembered and loved by many as the guy with a great laugh, a warm smile, and a cheerful disposition.

Living in West Seattle for several decades was a great pleasure for Ralph. He enjoyed morning coffee at the Morgan Thriftway (with friends nicknamed the Seattle Seniles); he and Betty exercised and swam at the West Seattle YMCA and participated with Seattle Indivisible as citizen activists. They also volunteered with Seal Sitters to protect young Harbor Seals on Alki and other local beaches. A favorite activity together was monthly dancing at the Senior Center.

“I shall take you by the hand and we will dance for joy in heaven
with all the saints and angels who will rejoice at your coming.” – Margery Kempe

A memorial/celebration of Ralph’s life will be scheduled at a later date; post Covid. Memorial donations may be made in Ralph’s name to Northwest Harvest or Seal Sitters.

Share Memories and Photos of Ralph on the Tribute Page at
Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to

3 Replies to "Remembering Ralph L. Heitt, 1932-2021"

  • Allison April 9, 2021 (10:26 am)

    What a beautifully written obituary.  I can tell Ralph lived a wonderful life and was well-loved.  My condolences to his family.

  • Also John April 9, 2021 (10:50 am)

    I’m so sorry to hear this news.  I worked with Ralph for a very short time during his 88 years.  I designed a sewage pump station for the City of Bothell and he was the Cities inspector.  He was a joy to work with.  He retired after that project.       I would then run into him at the WS YMCA and now and then around WS..    He was always cheerful and talked about his church volunteering.  He’ll  be missed greatly.

  • Eilene April 11, 2021 (3:34 pm)

    My husband and I fondly remember Ralph from Seal Sitting with him and his wife, Betty, for a number of years. He was a dedicated volunteer, always signing up for extra work, and had a great sense of humor as well, so was great fun to be around. We will miss seeing him on occasion, as we did once he “retired” from this volunteer work, he always had a smile and pleasant word.

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