Ralph William Stephan, Jr., passed away at home on April 30, 2018, after a long illness. He was 89 years old.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he earned an economics degree at Yale before participating in economics research at Cambridge, and studying African Studies at Northwestern University.
An outstanding athlete, he competed as captain of his rowing team at Yale, going on to represent the United States at the 1948 London Olympics in rowing. He had a lifelong interest in languages, and spoke French, Arabic, Spanish, and Japanese. He also played tennis throughout his life. His family remembers him as a lifelong learner who enjoyed researching various topics on the internet.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, the majority of his remarkable career was spent in the U.S. Diplomatic Service. During his 30 years as a diplomat, he handled political, economic, and administrative duties at U.S. embassies and consulates in Libya, the United Nations, Nigeria, Morocco, Japan, Algeria, and Belgium.
He is survived by his wife, Ming Hsueh Cheng, of Mount Shasta, California; son Christian "Alex" Rees Stephan of Exeter, England; and daughter Tanya Stephan of London, England. He is also survived by four grandchildren. He was predeceased by his sister, Patricia.
No services are scheduled at this time.
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