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John W. Ragle

Published: 1/3/2019 3:00:41 AM
Modified: 1/3/2019 3:00:41 AM

CANAAN, NH — John W. (Jack) Ragle died Wednesday, December 19th, 2018 at home, at the age of 97. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 28, 1921, to Dr. Benjamin Harrison and Marguerite (Williams) Ragle.

He was an alumnus of Phillips Exeter Academy. A short three weeks after graduating from the University of Chicago in March 1943, he was assigned to 456th Bomb Group, B-24’s and served on active duty in the Army Air Corps for twenty months in Italy. Though he was ground echelon, he flew on several missions as a bomb-strike photographer.

Upon discharge and after a year of graduate study at Harvard University, he taught and coached in secondary schools, public and private, for more than twenty years. A 1963-1964 recipient of a John Hay Fellowship at Columbia University, he was appointed in 1966 as Director of Teacher Preparation at Dartmouth College. He later became the first Director of their new Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program.

In 1972 he accepted appointment as the Headmaster of the Governor’s Academy (Governor Drummer) in Byfield, Massachusetts, established in 1763, the oldest independent boarding school in the nation.

Though school and college administration occupied a significant share of his career, classroom teaching and coaching athletics were his first love. In 1983 he returned to New Hampshire, teaching English and coaching tennis at Kimball Union Academy. He retired in 1997, ending 50 years in education.

He was a kind and gentle man who touched the lives of many. Jack was happiest when giving to others. He loved to walk and delighted in making new friends along the way. He carried a bag on those walks to help keep his neighborhood clean because that is the kind of person he was. He lived through many changes in the world and believed there was a peaceful solution to be found in all things.

A very special thank you from Jack and his family to a few of the many special people that were part of his life; Cailey Gunn, his friend and caregiver who kept him safe and offered him such a great quality of life in his last year. Ruth Conwell, whose trips and treats lit up his life, and to Linda Armstrong for keeping our avid reader Jack supplied with books and for her continuing support, without which we would be lost.

His wife Shiela MacLaren and their son John predeceased him. He is survived by his brother Thomas B. Ragle of Guilford, Vermont; his daughter Allison Kennett and son in law Larry Kennett of Canaan, NH; son Neil D. Ragle of Orange, NH; granddaughters Emily Tullercash of Windsor, VT and Robin Tullercash of Columbus, Ohio; grandson Morgan Tullercash of Quechee, VT; and two great-grandsons, Dylan and Dawson.

Memorial gifts may be sent in his name to the Lebanon United Methodist Church, 18 School Street, Lebanon, New Hampshire. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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