SOUTH PARIS — Ralph B. Sylvester, 89, formerly of Auburn and Sebring, Fla., peacefully passed away Friday, May 25, at the Maine Veterans Nursing Home in South Paris.

He was born in Auburn on Jan. 10, 1929, a son of the late Ashley and Frances (Thompson) Sylvester. He grew up in the Auburn area, attended local schools and was a graduate of Edward Little High School.

At the age of 11, Ralph started playing the trombone. He played in the Webster Junior High band under Russell Jack Sr., and the Edward Little High School band under the baton of Donald Gay. He also played in the dance band “The Varsitters,” a 16-piece band. Ralph also played in the St. Cecilia Boys Band under the direction of Leo Grenier and at the same time also played in the Le Montagnard Snowshoe Club band. These two bands played concerts in the bandstand in the Lewiston City Park on Sunday nights during the summer.

He enjoyed playing in the Cliff Lachance big band and the Gordon Howe big band. With all of his involvement, Ralph still had time to orchestrate his own “Nostalgia” dance band along with his Dixieland group, “The Dixie Cups.”

Ralph served his country in the United States Air Force during the Korean Conflict and was stationed in Montgomery, Ala., at Maxwell Air Force Base. He also played in the 604th Air Force Band.

After he was discharged from the military, he worked for the telephone company for 35 years. He started with the former New England Telephone Co. and retired from Verizon.

During his time in Florida, he played music with the Highlandaires Big Band on Thursday nights for dancing. He was a member of the Highlands County Concert Band under the direction of Vic Anderson. He enjoyed playing with the Windjammers in Sarasota and with the 10-piece band, the Skylarks, in Sebring. Above and beyond his love for playing music, Ralph was also very passionate about hunting and gardening.

He was a member of the Highlands Christian Church in Sebring, Fla., and a member of the West Auburn Church in West Auburn. He will be deeply missed by many and the family wishes to acknowledge that Ralph proudly authored his own obituary.

He is survived by his numerous nieces and nephews.

Condolences may be shared with his family at

Ralph B. Sylvester

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