Ralph Everline, former Metropolitan Community Church of Philadelphia deacon and owner of Fairview Barber Shop, died April 28 at Holy Spirit Hospital in Central Pennsylvania of cardiac arrest.
He was 64.
Everline was born in Pennsville, N.J., and moved to Philadelphia in 1973. He and partner Rich Thompson, together for 43 years, moved to Harrisburg in 1986.
In Philadelphia, Everline worked as a registered respiratory therapist at Abington Memorial Hospital and went on to own his own barbershop for 20 years in Harrisburg.
Thompson met Everline in Atlantic City in 1970. He said the attraction was instant.
“We were both just young and met socially,” he said. “I just thought he was awesome. It was love at first sight.”
Everline was heavily involved with MCC while in Philadelphia and followed that passion to Harrisburg, where he got involved as a deacon and choir member.
MCC Harrisburg Pastor the Rev. Lori Rivera said Everline served as an integral member of the church.
“He was important to the church and his heart was with this church and what it does,” she said. “Except for being on the board, I doubt there was an aspect of this church that he wasn’t involved in.”
Rivera said Everline’s voice and leadership were valuable assets to the choir.
“We will certainly miss his voice in the choir and his gift of worship leading,” she said. “You couldn’t miss him when he sang with our choir. He was our bass and you would know when he was missing.”
Everline sang in the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus and marched in Pride parades with Thompson as MCC representatives.
Thompson said MCC helped strengthen Everline’s faith and their relationship.
“He was a devout Christian and lived his faith,” he said. “He loved the church services, not just singing but also the liturgy. He got involved wherever he could. We were both involved and we did different things in the church but we did them together.”
Outside the church, Everline enjoyed cooking and cooking shows, as well as classical music and traveling.
“He was an amazing joke teller,” added Thompson. “He was a barber and could tell a good story, and he excelled at it and people loved him for it.”
In addition to Thompson, Everline is survived by two brothers, Mark and Roger; sister-in-law Linda; nephew Mark; and nieces Shelby, Meghan and Sherry.
A memorial service was held May 3, and memorial contributions can be made to the Building Fund of Metropolitan Community Church Building Fund, 2973 Jefferson St., Harrsiburg, Pa. 17110.