Ralph was born Saturday, April 30, 1955 in Sacramento California, and raised in Paradise California. His parents were Paul Finch a Social Worker and Margaret Finch a Librarian. In 1978 Ralph earned a BS degree in Civil Engineering from California State University, and earned a MS degree at UC Davis in 1980 in Water Resources Engineering.
Ralph worked for the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City and the Bureau of Reclamation prior to joining the California Department of Water Resources in 1988. In March 2015, after 27 years, he retired from the Department of Water Resources. At the Department, Ralph became an expert on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, building and applying software tools to help analyze the many issues that have affected the Delta over the years. He is remembered for his dedication and passion for high quality work and inspired others to do the same. He continually strove for the best and through his work made significant contributions to decisions affecting water supply, water quality, and the ecosystem in California.
Ralph had a fascination with flight and aircraft since he was a boy; he just liked things in the air. He achieved his private pilot's license in 1975. He had a two-seater airplane which he flew to Washington State, to Southern California and Arizona, and the longest trip he made was Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He was glad to bring delighted family and friends along, to share the open sky and aerial photos taken of the Delta were used in presentations at the Department of Water Resources. In 2008 Ralph started building his own single engine airplane in the garage and kept an ongoing record of his progress logging in almost 800 entries and over 2200 work hours.
Ralph's generosity ranged from helping nieces and nephews through college, opening their home to exchange students and friends from Japan, China and France.
Ralph is survived by MarA�a Guadalupe his wife of 30 years, his brother Felix, his two sisters, Cora and Ronica; his nieces, nephews and relatives in both the United States and Mexico.
Ralph will be missed by family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00pm, Saturday, February 13, 2016, at the Davis Cemetery, 802 Pole Line Road, in Davis, CA.
Donations in Ralph's name, can be made to World Vision, - worldvision.org
Friday, February 13, 2015
820 Pole Line Road
Davis, CA 95618