Ralph Lane Falls, Jr. of Raleigh passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones on May 11, 2015.
He was born January 10, 1941 in Morganton, NC to Dr. Ralph Lane Falls, Sr. and Alice Street Falls and was the younger brother to Alice Elaine Falls. He was predeceased by his parents and sister.
Ralph graduated from The McCallie School where he lettered in 4 Varsity sports. He then attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Following graduation he started his career in sales with American Hospital Supply. After many successful years he, with his business partners, founded Charter Medical Corporation. After leaving Charter Medical, he briefly sold commercial real estate. He then bought Roane-Barker, Inc. a medical supply company. Under his leadership, Roane-Barker grew from a company that served only North Carolina and South Carolina to one that served the east coast. He later sold his company to Henry Schein where salesman he hired continue to prosper and be fishing buddies. Ralph was indomitable. He had a larger than life personality and an unmatched joie de vivre. He could be generous, sweet and exacting. He quietly helped numerous people from all walks of life. He loved people and hearing their stories, telling them his stories and giving nicknames. His own nickname “Tuffy” was given to him by his beloved father when he was an infant. He enjoyed preternatural success in business and in the the stock market. A life long Tarheel, he established the Falls Prize in honor of his father Ralph L. Falls, Sr. which funds several scholarships yearly at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler School of
Business where he served on the Board of Visitors. He was always ahead of the curve and his tastes, interests and passions were unique and unparalleled. His love of the natural world included whales, big cats, alligators and crocodiles. He loved spicy ethnic food and grew his own chili peppers when such things were unheard of. He was an enthusiastic deep sea fisherman and loved taking his buddies fishing for marlin. His largest catch was an 700 pound plus blue marlin. He was an enthusiastic collector of tall ship models. He drove alternately Mercedes and
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muscle cars from the 60s in the 80s and 90s when most people shied from all things “redneck”.
He loved Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough well before the time of Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. His musical tastes ranged from Waylon Jennings to Barbara Streisand to Judy Collins. Ralph knew no prejudices; if he was your friend, nothing else mattered. His wide range of friends reflects his inclusive nature well before diversity was widely celebrated in society.
Mr. Falls is survived by his wife, Dianne C. Sellers, and his children, Mary Cooper Falls Wing, Louise Falls Cone and Ralph Lane Falls III, Benjamin Sherwood Staton II and Katharine Sellers Staton Chamberlain, and his grandchildren, Gillian Falls Cone, Katherine Lenox Cone, Mary Elaine Falls, Leigh Cooper Falls, James Boyd Falls, Laura Whitten Staton, Benjamin Sherwood Staton III, and Oliver Douglas Chamberlain. His devoted Swedish Valhund Greta Garbo also survives.
A graveside service will be held Friday, May 15, 12 noon in Morganton at Forest Hills Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers donations to either the Falls Prize at UNC’s Kenan Flagler School of Business or to Carolina Tiger Rescue, 1940 Hanks Chapel Rd., Pittsboro, NC 27312 are appreciated.