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Ralph Henry Slifkin

March 28, 1926 ~ February 28, 2018 (age 91)
Ralph Henry Slifkin, of Mt. Pleasant, Arkansas, passed away on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, at the age of 91. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Barbara George Slifkin; daughter, Rebecca Slifkin-Schneider (Kim F. Schneider); son, Steven D. Slifkin (Paula Chaney Slifkin); grandchildren, Micah B. Coleman, Ari G. Coleman (Krista Sanders), Abigail R. Coleman, W. Michael Slifkin; and great grandchild, Silas A.J. Coleman. Ralph was born to parents Lillian Cohen Slifkin and Irving T. Slifkin in Trenton, New Jersey on March 28, 1926. He was the second of two sons and preceded in death by his older brother, Sydney B. Slifkin in 1978. He was well-educated, talented, athletic, and well-rounded. He attained five university degrees, won gold medals in the Southern California Conference in track and field events, worked as an educator, teaching English, History, and Music, and coaching football and track and field events at Isidore Newman and St. Martin’s Episcopal Schools. He was a classically educated and trained singer and performer and he incorporated his musical gifts into varied areas, including directing both children’s and adult choirs, performing as a soloist in houses of worship of varied denominations, directing and performing operettas with his students at Newman and St. Martins, serving as Master of Ceremonies and soloist at the New Orleans Summer Pops during the summers of the 1960’s and early 1970’s. He is most remembered as Cantor Emeritus and musical director of Touro Synagogue, New Orleans where he served for more than 30 years. Ralph was a veteran of the U.S. Navy who served during W.W.II. He was also a businessman in the insurance and financial planning industries. He attained a brown belt in Judo, and, in his last years, was a gentleman farmer in North Arkansas. The Slifkin family extends their deep thanks to The Carpenter House, River Ridge, Louisiana and St. Joseph Hospice for care in his final days. Final arrangements are in the care of Tharp Sontheimer Tharp. A celebration of Ralph’s life is contemplated in the near future to which friends and family will be welcomed to pay their respects. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that any donations be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Jewish Family Services, or the United Way. An online guestbook is available at
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