Born in Brooklyn, NY, Ralph was the son of Charles and Blanche Heinzerling and beloved brother of the late Clifford Heinzerling. Ralph served as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific during World War II. Following the war, he settled permanently in Port Washington, NY, with his late wife Anna (Lela) Heinzerling (née Westergaard). A graduate of Brown University, Ralph worked as a freelance commercial artist in Manhattan, first as a painter and later in photographic retouching.
Ralph was an accomplished and lifelong sailor. Ralph and his brother Cliff were the 1942 Snipe World Champions, and Ralph won countless races in the Midget Ocean Racing Club (MORC), in Manhasset Bay One Design (MBO), Frostbiting for Manhasset Bay Yacht Club, and at Block Island Race Week. Ralph also crewed on winning sailboats in ocean races to Hawaii, Buenos Aires, and Bermuda.
Ralph took up running in the 1970’s, inspired by Port Washington’s Turkey Trot, and went on to run marathons and half-marathons for over 30 years into his early 80’s. Ralph was also an avid golfer, fisherman, gardener and fine artist. He loved classical music, art and a good book.
Ralph is survived by his three children and their spouses: Laura Berzofsky and Michael Berzofsky, Steven Heinzerling and Diana Heinzerling, and Nina Pepek and John Pepek. He leaves behind four grandchildren and their spouses: Scott Berzofsky and Katie Bachler, Caroline Pepek, Jessica Hellman, and Sabrina Hellman and Lev Gewirtzman; and two great-grandchildren: Clyde and Desmond Gewirtzman. He will be missed by dear friends, sailing partners, and a wide extended family.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Friends of Port Washington Public Library (pwpl.org) or Heifer International (heifer.org).