Ralph Woodson Bostian

December 23, 2022

CHARLOTTE – Ralph Woodson Bostian died on Friday, December 23, 2022, following a brief illness. 

Born in Charlotte, NC, in 1926, Ralph grew up on East 5th Street, worked in his father’s Charlotte Bread Company, and graduated from Central High School in 1944.  After serving in the Army Air Corps in World War II, he enrolled at NC State College (now University), where he studied mechanical engineering, graduating in 1949.  On a summer job for American Cyanamid in Wallingford, CT, he met Elizabeth (Betsy) Downs Wooding; they married in 1949.  Ralph took a job with Duke Power Company in 1950, and they started a family in Dukeville, the company village adjacent to Buck Steam Station near Spencer, NC.

Duke Power transferred him to the new Allen Steam Station (familiar to anyone who has landed at Douglas Airport from the south) in 1956.  Ralph and Betsy settled near West Mecklenburg High School and were active members of Mulberry Presbyterian Church for many years.  When Ralph was promoted to the company headquarters in Charlotte in 1981, they moved to the Fourth Ward neighborhood.  They joined First Presbyterian Church, where for many years Ralph provided technical support for the church’s televised services as a volunteer.  He was a long-time member of the Charlotte North Rotary Club, where he had perfect attendance.  Betsy died in 1995.  In 1996, Ralph married Marinell Jernigan, retired dean of the UNC-Charlotte School of Nursing and a fellow member of First Presbyterian. They moved to Sharon Towers, where Marinell had served on the board, in 2014.

A lifelong fan of trains, Ralph took thousands of photographs of trains across the United States and around the world, carefully documenting the date and location of each color slide.  He donated his collection to Trains magazine, where they are archived.  Ralph loved to travel – his meticulous accounts of each day’s journey were legendary in the family -- and was a determined golfer and a good storyteller. He and Marinell took ambitious trips, including crossing Russia by train and traveling three times to Peru, where they participated in service projects.

Ralph is survived by his wife, Marinell Bostian; son, Larry Bostian and his wife, Cindy Allen of Silver Spring, MD; daughter, Gail Schutz and her husband, Ron of Houston, TX; stepdaughter, Kelly Hunter and her husband, Sid of Chapel Hill, NC; nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.  Also surviving are his brother, Lloyd Bostian of Richmond, VA; daughter-in-law, Emmie Curry and her husband, David and many nieces and nephews.  Ralph was predeceased by his first wife, Betsy in 1995; son, Thomas Marshall Bostian in 1987; grandson, John McLean Allen Bostian in 2018; and sisters, Betty Bostian Caddell and Mary Lou Bostian Johnson. 

A memorial service for Ralph will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, January 21, 2023, at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1000 E. Morehead Street in Charlotte, NC 28204.  The service will be livestreamed at: https://www.covenantpresby.org/live for those unable to attend in person.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be offered in memory of Ralph to Sharon Towers Residents’ Assistance Fund, 5100 Sharon Road, Charlotte, NC 28210.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences may be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.

Share your memories & condolences


  • No comments found