Lawyer, retired banker and philanthropist Ralph J. Huiras received the third annual Cedarburg Foundation civic award at a banquet held in his honor at the Cedarburg Cultural Center February 17, 2005.
About 200 persons attended the celebration, which included an annual report by Foundation President Duey Stroebel, wine, cheese and desserts, a silent auction, and quiet jazz by Vic DiCristo and Tony Gorenc. The Cedarburg High School Swing Choir presented Broadway show tunes as entertainment.
The audience included many friends and family members of Huiras, including his daughter, Lynn Ferguson of Portland, Oregon, and his son, Peter, of the town of Cedarburg. Friends included representatives of some of Huiras’ favorite charities, including Joseph D. Kearney, dean of Marquette University’s Law School; Jerold F. Voigt, chairman of the town of Cedarburg, and Lisa Froemming, vice president of institutional advancement for the Columbia-St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation.
Except for seven years when he served as an FBI agent during and after World War II, Huiras has lived in Ozaukee County. His grandfather was a diary farmer and his father was an Ozaukee County judge.
After high school in Port Washington, Huiras attended Marquette Law School, then joined the FBI. While serving in Miami, Florida, he met his future wife, Marianne Ledgerwood, of Knoxville, Tennessee, who was working for Pan Am airlines. They returned to Ozaukee County in 1947. Ralph opened his law office in Port Washington and the couple later bought an 80-acre farm in the town of Cedarburg, where they raised their children.
Huiras has been chairman of the town of Cedarburg, Ozaukee County board chairman, president of the Colonial Bank and attorney for the town of Cedarburg. His philanthropy and includes financing for the Columbia-St. Mary’s-Ozaukee Hospital free clinic, the town of Cedarburg’s new town hall and electronic classrooms at Marquette Law School.
He is a member of the Divine Word Catholic Church at Five Corners where his wife Marianne played the organ. Marianne died in 1997.
Huiras received a commemorative plate crafted by Cedarburg potter Dave Eitel. He also received $1,000, which he donated to the Cultural Center.