BOONSBORO, Md. — Ralph Reeder was described by friends and family as a “country boy” with deep roots in the Boonsboro and Keedysville areas.
His love for the outdoors was fed by tending his garden, hunting, raising animals, mushroom hunting and hanging out on the back patio listening to the sound of the pond waterfall.
“He lived his life the way he wanted. He lived it the right way,” said his oldest daughter, Donna Anders of Boonsboro.
On July 21, he and his wife, Betty would have celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. The couple met while working at Fairchild, Ralph as a guard and Betty in the office.
Ralph was taking Betty’s girlfriend, who also worked at Fairchild, to Richardson’s for dinner after work. Betty thought Ralph was married, so she promised to check it out before the dinner and learned that Ralph was not married.
The next time they went to Richardson’s for dinner, Ralph suggested that Betty’s girlfriend invite her to come along.
Betty, who lived on Western Pike with her aunt and uncle, joined them for dinner. Ralph offered to give her a ride home, although Betty thought it was out of his way from his Keedysville home.
She agreed to the ride, but insisted Ralph keep his hands on the steering wheel all the way home. After that, he asked her out, but Betty learned that he was engaged and said she couldn’t go out with him anymore.
Ralph ended the engagement, and three months later he and Betty were engaged. They were married a year later in July 1956.
“It was a quick engagement and a long life,” Betty said.
The Reeders lived in the West End of Hagerstown and Maugansville before settling into the Boonsboro home on more than 2 acres of property where they lived for 46 years.
Donna was born five years after they got married, followed by Cindy more than three years later.
Betty said Ralph was always direct when dealing with people.
“You always knew where you stood,” she said.