This obituary was lovingly written by Mr. Hostetter's family.
E. Ralph Hostetter – 1922 - 2019
E. Ralph Hostetter was born in Rowlandsville, Maryland, on January 14, 1922. He peacefully departed this life on March 26, 2019 from the home he and his wife, Edie, built in North East. Hostetter lived his entire 97 years in his beloved state of Maryland. He called Cecil County home and was often heard saying, “My diamonds were in my back yard. I didn’t have to search the world looking for them.”
Hostetter began his education at The Tome School in Port Deposit and graduated as President of the Class of 1940. He was instrumental in helping to establish a secure future for the school after fire destroyed one of the buildings in 1969. He met his wife, Edith White, at Tome School. His six siblings, six children and two grandchildren all attended Tome School in Port Deposit or North East. He was named Trustee of The Jacob Tome Institute at age 25 (1947) and was still serving in an Emeritus position up until his death. In 1989 he was named Tome Alumnus of the Century.
Enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1941 as an apprentice seaman, Hostetter was assigned in 1943 to the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at Harvard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1945. He was released from World War II service in 1946 with the rank of Ensign. Recalled into the U.S. Navy in 1950 during the Korean War, he served as a Naval Intelligence Officer until released in 1952 with the rank of Lieutenant, Senior Grade.
Hostetter entered the newspaper business in 1948, at age 25, as editor of the Cecil Whig, a job for which he had no formal training. He later bought the paper and went on to form Tri-State Publishing Co., building a chain of 13 newspapers from 1957 to 1975 when it was sold to Whitney Communications Corporation of New York. Hostetter is celebrated as a pioneer in newspaper production technology. He had the vision in 1960 to move from a sheet-fed press to web offset printing by purchasing and operating one of only three offset presses East of the Mississippi.
At the time of his death, he remained the Chairman and Publisher of American Farm Publications Inc., Easton, Md. and proud to serve farmers and their families with The Delmarva Farmer and The New Jersey Farmer newspapers. The New Jersey Agricultural Society awarded Hostetter the Gold Medallion, its highest award, in 2003. He was elected to the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association Newspaper Hall of Fame in 1990. He joined that association at age 25 and served as President from 1962-1963.
He was a Director at County Banking and Trust Company, Elkton, Md.; Vice President of Strasburg Rail Road Co., Strasburg, Pa.; owner of Camelot East Farms, Prince Edward Island, Canada; a Director for Catalyst Recovery Incorporated, Baltimore, Md.; and former Chairman of Ambassador Travel Service, Wilmington, De.
Always active in civic affairs, Hostetter served for over 20 years as Chairman of the building committee and as a member of the board of directors for Union Hospital of Elkton, Md.; was first President of the Maryland State Chamber of Commerce (1971-1972); a member of the Board of Directors of Free Congress Foundation, Washington, D.C.; and a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow. He held such positions as President and Director (1991-1999), Physicians for Peace, Norfolk, Va.; Chairman and Executive Editor, American Investigator Television Productions, Washington, D.C.; Member, Governor’s Commission to Study State Aid to Non-Public Schools (1969-1970); Member, Maryland Judicial Selection Commission for Appellate Courts (1970-1978); and served on the Board of Governors, Washington College, Chestertown, Md. He was elected a Member of the Maryland Constitutional Convention in 1967 and was named Cecil County’s 2006 Citizen of the Year by the Elkton Chamber of Commerce and the Elkton Alliance.
Marco Polo was one of Hostetter’s role models for travel. Over half a century, he made three round-the-world trips, visiting all seven continents and well over 100 countries. North Dakota is the only state he never saw in the USA. Hostetter was very proud of the page in his passport that shows both Timbuktu and Kalamazoo. He would tell stories of seeing the world by car, bus, delayed flight, Yellowstone bus, Russian ice breaker, Trans-Siberian rail, sluggish mule, slippery camel, Asian elephant, private plane and the Concorde. He also loved sharing with family and friends the homes he and Edie built on Prince Edward Island (Camelot East) and Jackson Hole, Wy. (Camelot West).
In his book, “Publisher’s Notebook,” (1999) Hostetter shared a compilation of the columns and commentaries, as they appeared in the pages of The Delmarva Farmer newspaper under a column of the same name. Many of Hostetter’s columns also were published on Newsmax.com. About the book, Bruce Hotchkiss, senior editor of American Farm Publications, wrote, “True to adage, Ralph’s pen surely is mightier than the sword and, beware, it’s just as sharp.”
His autobiography, “Something Ventured: Portrait of an American Dreamer – E. Ralph Hostetter” is in final production. In it Hostetter wrote, “What is indisputably true is that at almost every turn, my success along the path has been a result of the generosity of family, friends and mentors willing to share their knowledge, support my ventures and, in some cases, invest in my dreams.”
“Basically, I’m a dreamer. I’m always thinking, always dreaming so to speak. From dreams come ideas. Some ideas are good, some not so good. Wonder wisely. If you dream and come across an idea that appeals to you, you can then extend and build upon that dream until it takes natural form. And that’s being an entrepreneur.”
Hostetter was blessed to have loving family members, friends and caregivers around him in person and he enjoyed connecting with others using today’s technology during his final time at his beloved home that he called the Fourth Estate. He freely shared his quick wit, political opinions and talent as a storyteller.
Survivors include daughters, Elsa Nastase (Gheorghe), North East, Md.; Lisa Williams, New Market, Md.; Leslee Parsons (Bryan) Crozet, Va.; Karla Capobianco (Rich), Old Bridge, NJ; Edie Hess (Alan), Richmond, Va.; and son, Edward R. Hostetter, Jr. (Carol), Houston, Tx; grandchildren, E. Niculae Nastase, (Mayumi); Alexandra Alexander (Brett), Christian Williams (Francesca), Andrea Williams, Erik Lindquist (Carmen), Elise Lindquist, Evan Lindquist, Joseph Capobianco, Cody Capobianco, Analis Capobianco, Alan Whitney Hess, Olivia Reese Hess, and Elizabeth Hostetter; great grandchildren, Mason and Ethan Alexander, Lucas, Caleb, Zoey and Mya Lindquist and Roytaro Orihara; as well as many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his beloved wife of 68 years, Edith (Edie) White Hostetter, he was predeceased by his parents, Martha (Woodrow) and Abraham Hostetter; three sisters, Charlotte, Alyce and Martha; three brothers, John, Abraham and Robert; son-in-law, C. Larry Williams and granddaughter, Erin Lindquist.
Visitation will be on Sunday, March 31, 2019, 4-7 p.m., at Crouch Funeral Home 127 S Main St, North East, MD 21901. Funeral services will be at The Tome School in North East on Monday, April 1, 2:30 p.m. Interment will be at the North East United Methodist Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please donate to: The Tome School, 581 South Maryland Avenue, North East, Md. 21901. The future of this school meant the world to Ralph.