Obituary: Ralph Oswald Humburg, 1952-2017 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Ralph Oswald Humburg, 1952-2017 

Published August 29, 2017 at 5:30 a.m. | Updated August 29, 2017 at 12:39 p.m.

click to enlarge Ralph Humburg
  • Ralph Humburg

Ralph Oswald Humburg, 65, passed away on May 12, 2017, surrounded by his loving family under the gracious care of the University of Vermont Medical Center, in Burlington. Ralph was born in Switzerland on March 21, 1952. He grew up in Bedford Hills, N.Y., and spent summers at his family’s cottage on Peach Lake in North Salem, N.Y. Ralph moved to Vermont in the early '70s when he began his professional career as a mechanic at Imported Car Center. Later, he opened Ralph’s Foreign Auto, a success for more than 20 years.

Ralph always had a love for fast cars. When racing competitively, he was commonly spotted by using No. 13, because he was not the superstitious type. This love for cars was shared by his son, Rolf, and daughter, Sarah, who worked alongside him for many years and continue to share his dedication to them.

Ralph was a cheerful and intelligent man with a twinkle in his blue eyes. He was the original foodie and had many requests for his signature dishes. He grew up playing the cello and was the church organist. With an innate talent for music, he could play guitar by ear. His favorite band was the Grateful Dead, and he listened to them to the very end.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Ralph O. Humburg Sr. and Beryl L. Humburg. He leaves behind his children, Rolf Humburg and wife Katherine Clear, Sarah Humburg and partner Ricky Gratton, and Aimee Matthews and husband Jon; his grandsons, Lucas and Mason Matthews; the mother of his three children, Betsy Shand; his sisters, Schatzi Humburg and Margrit Humburg; and many lifelong friends.

A celebration of life is planned for Saturday, September 23, from noon to 3 p.m. at the St. John’s Club in Burlington. Please RSVP your attendance to Sarah Humburg at

Donations in his name may be made to the Community Health Centers of Burlington.

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