Ralph Harris was born in West Virginia on September 4, 1935. He enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school in order to receive the GI Bill and to get away from his step-father with whom he did not get along.|
After Basic Training he was sent to Fort Leonardwood to study chemical, biological and nuclear warfare for eight weeks. After awhile, he was given a choice of going to Guantanamo or Germany. The Korean War was about over at that time. He picked Germany. At that time he was playing in an Army Band. Because there was a need to play "slow" music, Ralph did not get to play much.
Eventually he was asked to work in Security and Intelligence. This was an especially tense period of the "Cold War" in which the Russians were continually testing the Allies. His Colonel wanted to know how long it would take to get to the safe areas if the Russians attacked. The Allies were outnumbered by the Russians but there was hope that they could get to a safe area to wait on reinforcements. Ralph reports that he didn't get nervous at the time until he got home and realized the danger of the situation.
Although he was an E4 and was set to go to OCS, he opted to get out of the Army in 1957. After getting his Associate Degree, he enrolled in a four-year college where he received a BS Degree and eventually went on to get a Master's Degree. Although he has completed all of the coursework for a PhD Degree, he never finished.
He was married twice, once for ten years between 1960 and 1970, then again to his present wife in 1976. She had three children whom he considers his own. He has four children altogether.
Ralph taught all over Michigan. At one point he met Don Canham, the legendary Athletic Director at the University of Michigan, who recommended him for several jobs, including working for the Michigan Panthers Football Team and the Detroit Tigers. He eventually returned to teaching.