Editor’s note: The following story written by Jennifer Lewter was first published in The Elk Valley Times’ Millennium Edition on Jan. 1, 2000. To read the rest of the story from our archives, just click here
A gentle voice, a kind word … Fayetteville’s Ralph Hastings has long been a friend to Lincoln County, a man who brings out the best in others and always looks for the best in all around him.
Born in Petersburg in 1919, Hastings was the youngest of five children. His father worked as a schoolteacher and banker.
When Ralph was one year old, his father moved “to the oil fields in the west to try and make a better home for us,” he recalls, noting, though, that his father never returned home.
Ralph, along with his mother, brother and three sisters, moved in with his grandparents and shared a home with 14 other family members.
Hastings attended Egam, “a one-teacher school” on Boonshill Road and went on to Eighth District when it was located on Rocky Knob. He later graduated from Morgan, a prep school in Petersburg.
When he was 16, his mother died of cancer — his grandmother passed away from old age on the same day, he says.