Ralph Earle II, United States Ambassador and a key architect of several major international arms control accords, died peacefully on January 13, 2020 from complications from Parkinson’s. Ambassador Earle was the loving husband of Julie von Sternberg Earle. A resident of Manasota Key, FL, he was born in Bryn Mawr, PA, the son of the former Governor of Pennsylvania, George H. Earle III and Huberta Potter Earle Sheaffer. He was 91 years old.
Ambassador Earle attended Episcopal Academy and graduated from Deerfield Academy. He was a graduate of Harvard College, where he was a member of The Fly Club, and Harvard Law School and served in the United States Army. He was a member of the First City Troop of Philadelphia. Following law school and a clerkship with Federal Judge Bailey Aldrich, he worked for the law firm of Morgan, Lewis and Bockius where he became a partner. In 1968, he was appointed to be Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, beginning a career in public service that spanned four decades and during which he served under five Presidents.
In 1978, Earle was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as the United States’ chief negotiator at the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II) with the Soviets and given the rank of Ambassador where he led the US team in negotiating the SALT II treaty. He then served as Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) from 1980 to 1981. He later re-joined ACDA from 1994 to 1999 as its Deputy Director. Prior to his involvement in arms control, Ambassador Earle also served as the Defense Advisor to the US Mission to NATO from 1969 to 1972.
Ambassador Earle will be remembered for his sharp intellect, his good humor, his love for his country, his commitment to making the world a safer and better place, his narrative skills, his exceptional charm and graciousness, and, perhaps above all, his abiding passion for the Philadelphia Eagles. He was also a voracious reader and great fan of Sherlock Holmes as a member of the Sons of the Copper Beeches, the Baker Street Irregulars and the Half Pay Club.
In addition to his wife, he leaves his devoted children from his first marriage to Eleanor Forbes Owens Earle: Eleanor Earle Mascheroni and her husband Mark of New York, NY; Ralph Earle III and his wife Jane Mendillo of Boston, MA; Duncan Owens Earle and his wife Robin Ridley of Lusaka, Zambia; Amanda Earle Ciccarelli and her husband Andrea of Bloomington, IN; and Caroline Earle Walsh and her husband Eric of Barrington, RI. He also leaves nine grandchildren: Olivia, Isabella and Rex Mascheroni; Elizabeth and Thomas Earle; David and Henry Earle; and Emily and Ethan Walsh.
Contributions may be made in Ralph Earle II’s honor to the PBS Foundation, 2100 Crystal Drive, Third Floor, Arlington, VA 22202 or to the ASPCA https://secure.aspca.org/donate/memorial.
Arrangements are being handled by Farley Funeral Home, Venice, Florida http://www.farleyfuneralhome.com.