Meet Ralph Goodenberger – Veteran, Father, Architect

At The Inn at Belden Village we love to celebrate our residents and share their amazing life stories. This month’s Senior Spotlight is veteran, father, and well-known Canton architect Ralph Goodenberger. Born and raised in Canton, Ohio by his grandpa, Ralph picked up his love for architecture being around all his grandpa’s tools and seeing him build his own house.

Ralph attended Worley Elementary School, followed by Lehman High School and then Timken High School after it was built. There he took vocational classes in welding and carpentry and then focused on Drafting, which is what he liked to do most.

While in high school he and a group of students went to the Timken factory for experience where Ralph sat at a drawing board next to the chief engineer. At the time Timken was planning to build a new factory and needed someone to draw out blueprints. After seeing how great Ralph was at drawing they asked him to draw up plans.

After graduating high school in 1942, Ralph was drafted for the war and placed in the Army Engineer Company and soon made the rank of PFC. During his time in the war he traveled to England and Scotland and thankfully didn’t see any combat.

Canton building by Ralph Goodenberger
A Canton building designed by Ralph

Ralph never thought about going to college, but after a spur of the moment weekend with friends down at Ohio University he realized that college is where he wanted to be, signed up for classes and joined a fraternity. It was during his early college years that he met his wife Margie and asked her to the homecoming dance. “I was very lucky to graduate college with a BFA in Architecture with honors, a wife, and a new baby boy,” says Ralph with a smile. In addition to his first son Craig, Ralph is also a dad to three other children – Kurt, Ludi, and Lyssa – as well as several grandchildren.

After college Ralph took the State Architecture Registration Exam and shortly after he and some fellow architects started a firm together called Lawrence, Dykes, Goodenberger, and Clancy where he was a resident designer. In 1985 Stark Metropolitan Magazine wrote an article about Ralph and his accomplishments as a designer of over a dozen Canton buildings, calling him “well-known and highly respected”.

Ralph Goodenberger article
Stark Metropolitan Magazine article on Ralph Goodenberger

Buildings Ralph has designed include expansions at Aultman Hospital, Hillsdale Shopping Center, Walsh College Science Building, Oakwood High School, McKinley High School, the library at University of Akron, and many more. Out of all of the buildings he has designed though, he made sure we knew that his favorite one is the People’s Federal Building.

Ralph has been with us here at the Inn at Belden Village since October 2015 and has seen great improvements since starting physical therapy. He’s 92 years young and you’d never believe it! We want to say a big thanks to Ralph for dedicating his time to our country and for all of his beautiful buildings around Canton.

Contact The Inn at Belden Village for more information on Senior Assisted Living or to take a free tour and lunch of our facility.