Ralph Lyttelton Feil
(1945 – 2019)
On Sunday, January 27, 2019, Lenhart Pettit lost its senior partner, Bar leader and wise counsel, Ralph L. Feil. He died at the University of Virginia Hospital of heart complications.
Ralph was born in Rochester, NY but was essentially a Charlottesville native, having attended local City schools and graduated from Lane High School. He was valedictorian of his senior class, an outstanding student leader and star athlete at Lane, excelling in football, baseball and track. The football team, on which he was a starting halfback and defensive back and earned the nickname “Tuffy”, began the historic Lane High School 53 game undefeated streak.
Ralph began his higher education by initially attending Davidson College and subsequently transferring to the University of Virginia, from which he graduated with a degree in Economics in 1967. Ralph enjoyed fraternity life at Sigma Phi Epsilon. He continued his education at the University of Virginia School of Law, graduating in 1970. Ralph remained involved in alumni activities for the University and the Law School throughout his life. He was elected to Omicron Delta Kappa leadership fraternity as a student at the University, and to the Raven Society as an alumnus.
Ralph began law practice in Charlottesville with McGuire, Woods & Battle as a litigation associate. He subsequently joined Clinton Wingfield and Dick Barrick to form Wingfield, Barrick & Feil, the predecessor to Feil Pettit & Williams PLC, which Ralph led as senior partner from 1977 to 2013. Ralph developed a thriving general practice, which later evolved into a focus on family law. In 2014, Feil Pettit & Williams merged with Lenhart Obenshain of Harrisonburg and Charlottesville to form Lenhart Pettit PC. Ralph practiced in the Charlottesville office of Lenhart Pettit PC until his death. Ralph’s legal career was exemplary for his scholarship, thorough and exacting standards, dedication to the interests of his clients and unfailing kindness and courtesy to everyone with whom he dealt.
Ralph was a leader in the community and the Bar, including service as a U.S. Magistrate Judge, President of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association, Chairman of the Seventh District Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board, Vice-President of Farmington County Club and Chairman of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. He was referred to as the unofficial mayor of Sandy Point, VA where he and Punkie have a home on the Potomac River.
Ralph enjoyed immensely hosting the semi-annual Sandy Point Invitational Golf Tournament that he started with Mac Peatross, Rick Carter and Ron Tweel, branching out to as many as 30 enthusiastic amateur golfers.
Survivors include his wife, Phyllis P. “Punkie” Feil, a local Realtor and his daughters, Elizabeth F. Matthews and husband Steve of Charlottesville, Katherine F. Rhadans and husband Matt of Odessa, MO and Bethany F. Taibl and husband Andy of Richmond. He is also survived by brother, Jimmy Feil of Florida, sister, Nancy F. Lowry of Red Hill, nine grandchildren, numerous local relatives and friends too many to mention.
A memorial page with information about services planned for Ralph can be found on the website of Hill and Wood Funeral Services.