Reverend Ralph's Story

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BANGOR - The Reverend Ralph Durgin, beloved husband of Kathleen Durgin, passed away on October 9, 2015, after a long illness. Father Durgin was born on July 4, 1928, in Braintree, MA.

After graduating from high school in 1946, he joined the Coast Guard, attending cook and baker school and then serving for three years as a cook aboard a light ship on Lake Erie.

During his adult life he excelled at a variety of endeavors, including computer programming and systems analysis, before realizing his lifelong ambition to join the priesthood. In December of 1972, he received holy orders from the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, NY.

In 1974, he received his first appointment as rector of St. James Church in Old Town, ME, and also founded St. Patricks Mission in Brewer, ME. In 1980 he became parish priest of St. James Church in New Haven, CT, a position he held until 1995. In response to the needs of the New Haven community, Reverend Durgin established a Latino ministry at St. James. Many families new to this country were welcomed to the church and were able to hear sermons in their native language, as Reverend Durgin had mastered Spanish by attending a language-immersion program in Mexico and Spanish classes at Southern Connecticut State University. This ministry greatly enriched his spirituality for the rest of his life.

Ralph and Kathleen shared a life-long love affair with Cape Cod and retired to Eastham, MA, in 1995. During their long retirement there, Father Ralph frequently acted as interim rector at several churches, including The Church of the Good Shepherd in New Bedford, MA, and a mission church in the Turks and Caicos. They also traveled extensively, including trips to Spain and Ireland. They moved to Winterberry Heights in Bangor, ME, in 2012.

The Reverend Durgin was a man of wide interests and sympathies. He was a skilled swimmer and loved to sail his sunfish on Cape Cod Bay; a handyman; enjoyed the study of languages, including Greek as well as Spanish; loved to cook; and with his wife frequently attended the opera.

Father Ralph is survived by his wife and love of his life, Kathleen; by his children, Mary Merly of Milford, CT, Geraldine Stinson of Orrington, ME, Christine Durgin of Augusta, ME, and David Durgin of Bloomfield, CT; and by six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are invited to call 6-8 pm, Friday, October 16, 2015 at the Brewer Chapel of Brookings-Smith, 55 South Main St., Brewer, ME. Funeral services will be held 1 pm, Saturday, October 17, 2015, at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, 21 Holyoke St. Brewer. Interment for family and friends will be at Evergreen Cemetery in Eastham, MA at a later date. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.BrookingsSmith.com.
Published on  October 12, 2015
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