Witness to a Century

Stony Point honors Ralph Goldsmith, WW II serviceman who turns 100 on July 25

Ralph Goldsmith, born and raised and a resident of Stony Point all of his life, except for three years in the U.S. Navy, was honored at a ceremony at Stony Point Town Hall Memorial Day. In fact, Town Supervisor Geoff Finn announced that his 100th birthday on July 25 will be Ralph Goldsmith Day.

Goldsmith told a nice audience of several hundred people gathered for the Memorial Day festivities about his time serving on cargo vessels, traveling thousands of miles in the Pacific during the war. None of his ships were ever shot at, but there were difficult times when typhoons hit the area.

His ship was built to capsize at 42 degrees he told the rapt listeners, and a giant wave turned the ship around and threw it into the sea at 40 degrees. He said two more degrees and “Ralph wouldn’t be here to talk to you today.”

But Goldsmith, who is in good health at the age of 99, survived and will be celebrating his 100th birthday July 25 not far from where he ws born in in 1912; in a house at Smith Street and Route 9W, delivered by Dr. John Sengstacken.

Goldsmith’s birth certificate was signed by James Farley, who was Stony Point Town Clerk that year and went on to be FDR’s confidant and Postmaster General of the United States. Goldsmith’s parents were Lawrence and Sarah Goldsmith. Lawrence was a Captain on the Weehawken Ferry.

His mother Sarah was a housewife and the disciplinarian in the family, Goldsmith told the Rockland County Times.

What does he attribute his long life to?

“Beats me,” says Ralph.

But he never smoked and has had just a stomach ulcer and recent hip surgery. No other operations. He went to Stony Point High school on Main Street where there were grades 1 through 12 and he did them all. Goldsmith took business courses after high school and wound up working in New York City as a messenger for International Telephone and Telegraph where he was employed for 21 years.

When the West Shore railroad ended commuter services, Goldsmith took a job with Provan Transportation working in their comptrollers offices and traveling many states. He retired from Provan in 1978 and has not worked since. He and his late wife, Rebecca traveled together for many years visiting capitals of 12 countries.

His relatives are planning a 100th birthday celebration for Ralph and be sure to stay tuned for what the town has planned for Ralph Goldsmith Day.

Dylan Skriloff contributed to this report. Photos by Dylan Skriloff.

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