Ralph Farris Joseph was born December 15, 1924 in Black Rock, Lawrence County, Arkansas to Frank and Fern Joseph. Frank Joseph was a naturalized citizen from Lebanon, Syria whose occupation was a general merchant. Seeing that education was important in the life of their children, Frank and Fern encouraged young Ralph to strive in his studies. Graduating as Valedictorian in his class from Black Rock High School in 1942, Ralph continued his education at Arkansas State University as a pre-medical student for two years. He then was accepted to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, graduating in 1947 with a Doctor of Medicine Degree.
Ralph began his medical practice in Walnut Ridge in 1948. On December 15, 1948 he and Gayola Carlock of Cotton Plant, Arkansas were wed. In addition to his medical practice, Ralph soon saw the need for more comprehensive medical care for his community and was instrumental in the founding of Lawrence Memorial Hospital where he was a lifetime member of the hospital’s medical staff.
Dr. Joseph never forgot the value of education in his early life. He identified a need in the community to train youth to be good leaders and give back to their communities. Acting on this need, in 1994 he founded the Ralph Joseph Youth Leadership Program in Lawrence County. At the time of this writing, Dr. Joseph’s estate, along with others, donates funds each year and a committee of volunteers conducts the program.
Dr. Joseph received numerous awards and recognitions through the years for his medical and civic leadership, serving on boards and commissions throughout the county. He was an elder and a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Walnut Ridge.* He continued to see citizens of Lawrence County, Arkansas for 64 continuous years, Dr. Ralph Farris Joseph died November 1, 2012 at the age of 87. He was laid to rest in Lawrence Memorial Park in Walnut Ridge, Lawrence County, Arkansas.
Written in the House Gregg Funeral Home Guestbook was this “Doc, you will by greatly missed by your beloved community. Your good works are innumerable! We will never forget what you have meant to us all! Your legacy will never die!”**.
*FindAGrave.com, memorial #100035505
**House Gregg Funeral Home, Walnut Ridge, AR