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Rev. Ralph E. Darmstadt, 93 of Fleischmanns and most recently Saugerties, died Monday January 8, 2023 at Health Alliance Hospital in Kingston as the result of a massive stroke. He was born February 20, 1930 in Lynbrook,NY son of the late Emile and Carrie Mae Hendrickson Darmstadt. At age 26, while working at a gardening supply store and nursery, he was "struck by the revelation" that his life would follow a unique path. He was to dedicate his life to the ministry. His first parish was a tiny church community in Iowa in 1957. In 1961 he took over as minister to a Methodist Church on the East River in Queens. Darmstadt opened the doors of the church to all, transforming the tiny group into a large congregation of those living on the fringes. He began a youth group that started slowly yet grew to over 200. "When he came to the church, the impact he brought was more than just on Sundays...that spoke to me as a kid," says Mel Johnson who was 11 when he met Darmstadt and now works as an actor and producer. He began one of the very first poverty programs in New York City, and has spent his life dedicated to others. He had a style that favors frankness over effusive language, and has really struck a chord in the rural parishes he has helped. In 1968 he came to serve the communities of Shandaken , Big Indian and Pine Hill. He quickly focused on the isolation of the elderly in the community and how he could reach out. When the new Margaretville Hospital opened in 1969, he was there to learn more about the issues facing the elderly. He and his friend Gene Gormley worked fervently on applications to create affordable housing. Darmstadt has always thought it was crucial to have social interactions and connections. In 1981 he was transferred to Kingston where he quickly took up the cause of homelessness. It was not an easy path, however Rev. D succeeded in establishing a 21-bed shelter that has since thrived. His only rule was, " Whatever you're facing, you have to address it." In 1988 he was again transferred to the rural community of Jefferson, NY and was able to build up the smaller church community. In 1994 he was assigned to Fleischmanns and Halcott Center churches which allowed him to be closer to his home. In 2017 Rev. Darmstadt was honored for his years of community work with a special award from the AARP. He directed that the award funds be used for the advancement of Catskill Neighbors, a volunteer group serving the elderly in the Catskills. The group assists with transportation to appointments, doing an errand, and simply having conversation and socialization. Little things are a big deal. Darmstadt's lifelong motto is " if you don't do anything, nothing happens." His impact on the communities he has served has been enormous. Many fondly recall that Rev. Darmstadt had married them, baptized their children, and buried their grandparents. Rev. Darmstadt enjoyed theater, and the arts, having created many beautiful pieces with acrylics and water colors. He took pride in the hand-crafted birthday and anniversary cards which he sent to an endless number of folks. Additionally he had horses that he tended to, and earned many blue ribbon awards in equine competitions. In his continued effort to work with youth, he was a substitute teacher for years at the Margaretville School. He was truly woven into the fabric of the Catskill's community. His passing coincided with the Feast of the Epiphany when the Magi followed the star to the birthplace of the Christ child. Rev. Darmstadt was a shining star for each of us!
Surviving are his two daughters: Deborah Bazzani and N. Lynn (Michael)Sanders, two sons: Kenneth and Phillip (Ivy) Darmstadt A sister Shirley Darmstadt. His grandchildren: Michael, Matthew, Will, James, Renee, Jaclyn, Aston, and great grandchildren: Jake, Lilli, Dilynn, Lewis, Shepard, Caspian, and Charlee. He was predeceased by Carrie Tintle, Nancy Darmstadt, and his siblings: Emile, Merritt, Lester, Charles Darmstadt, Lyle Gulick, Carrie Mahoney, and two infant siblings
Memorial visitation will take place on Saturday January 13, 2024 from 2pm to 4pm at the Phoenicia United Methodist Church 29 Church St. Phoenicia. The Memorial Service will be at 4pm at the church. The service will also be live streaming on the Memorial United Methodist Church, Shandaken, NY Facebook Page. The family suggests memorial contributions may be made to Catskill Neighbors P.O.Box 353 Fleischmanns 12430, or the Darmstadt Shelter 40 Thomas St. Kingston 12401. You are encouraged to share your special story about "Rev. D" on his Tribute Wall at www.gormleyfuneralhome.com
P.O.Box 353, Fleischmanns NY 12430
40 Thomas Street, Kingston NY 12401