Ralph R. Dykstra, Ed.D. passed into eternal life on May 31, 2021. Born in West Sayville, New York, he was the son of the late Cornelius and Mary Kate (Salmon) Dykstra and the brother of the late Edmund Dykstra. Ralph attended schools in Sayville and New York City. He graduated from the State University College at Buffalo with a B.S. and an M.Ed. in Special Education He received his Doctorate at the University of Buffalo. After teaching Special Needs children for twelve years in West Islip, New York, he returned to Buffalo State where he taught Reading and Language Arts, and Children’s Literature until he retired in 1990. Dr. Dykstra then transitioned to the University of Connecticut where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses for the next nine years.
While in Buffalo Dr. Dykstra was active in the Serra Club, an organization of Catholic men, in which he held many offices. Upon moving to Rhode Island, he was active in the McVinney Foundation, and held the office of President. A member of the Cathedral parish, Ralph was a Eucharistic Minister. He sang with the Gregorian Concert Choir, and he organized many concert trips to Italy for the group.
Ralph had many interests. In retirement he became a quilter. Starting with crib quilts for all the grandnieces and nephews, he soon moved on to bigger projects which he displayed publicly. He received many accolades for his work.
Ralph was predeceased by his wife Judith (Huether) Dykstra, to whom he was married for 29 years, and his daughter Elaine Dykstra, who died on March 16, 2020. He is survived by his caring and devoted wife, Dr. Kathleen O’Donnell Dykstra, and many nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews.
Visitation will take place at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on Friday, June 4th from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM, followed immediately by a Mass of Christian burial. Interment will take place later.
Contributions in Ralph’s name to Hope Hospice and Pallative Care, 1085 North Main St., Providence, RI 02904 will be appreciated.
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