Scott Ralls

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Scott Ralls

Scott Allan Ralls, a Cortlandt resident, died Sept. 3. He was 56.

Ralls was born on Mar. 24, 1964, in Herrin Ill. and was raised in Benton, Ill. by his mother Donna K. Smith and Charles Smith. He graduated from Murray State University in Kentucky. On Apr. 22, 1995, he married Andrea Durr in Benton.

Ralls dedicated his entire professional life to providing growth opportunities to children and young adults. Along with his wife, he was the founder, owner and director of Southwoods, a premiere four-week residential camp in upstate New York and owner of Summer Trails Day Camp in Somers.

He began his career in youth development after his first summer working with Amy and Morry Stein at Camp Echo Lake more than 30 years ago. During his career, Ralls was a true leader in the camping industry. He served for many years on the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey board, including a term as president. He was a board member for the New York State Camp Directors Association and the American Camp Association National Board. Ralls was a founding board member and had served on the Project Morry board continuously for 21 years, including in the role of president.

He is the founder and CEO of the Donna Kaye Smith Scholarship Fund, an organization that provides four-year college scholarships to those who otherwise might not be able to attend.

Ralls has always been a champion for the camp industry and worked hard to make sure that all children had the opportunity to attend camp. He earned many awards and accolades along the way, but was most proud of his relationship with his wife Andrea and his three daughters, Emma, Sydney and Bailey. Family was everything to Scott and being a father was his most important achievement and greatest blessing. The impact he has had on his many camp colleagues, friends and family is far and wide. Scott’s legacy will live on in those of us whose lives he touched.

Ralls is survived by his wife and three daughters; one sister, Valarie Durham; his aunt, Carolyn South; cousins Lex and Cathy Turner (Chelsea, Eric), Kim and Bill Reynolds (Ryan and Ross), Josh and Lora Smith (Zadok, Aletta, Tamsin), Alex and Amanda Smith (Alivia) and Anna and Randy Lane (Oliver); mother-in-law Sandra Durr; father-in-law Paul Durr II; brother and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews Alissa and Chris Simmons (Ethan, Ainsley, Rowan, Finn), Shannon and Kicke Gomez (Giovanni), Paul and Cindy Durr (Anna and Adam); and countless friends who have become family.

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