Ralph John Thomson1937 ~ 2011A bright light flickered out this Christmas season. At 12:56 a.m. December 23, 2011, Ralph John Thomson ended his long bout with liver disease, as his wife and family held a tender vigil at his bedside. His liver was weak, his heart strong and vibrant. A prominent leader in international business and government, Ralph maintained, "My crowning glories and joys are my five fine offspring and their spouses, my 17 grandchildren and 50 years together with my beloved Julienneand serving the Lord wherever and whatever I was called upon to do."Born August 15, 1937 to Ralph Daniel Thomson and Ruth Watts Thomson, Ralph was reared in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He spent most of his childhood in Salt Lake City's Harvard-Yale neighborhood and the mountains of Kanosh, Utah, with a cameo in L.A.Ralph attended East High School and the University of Utah, where he served in student government and as a diplomat at the National Student Association. After serving an LDS mission in West Germany and marrying his "sunshine girl" Julienne Allen, Ralph earned two master's degrees and a PhD in international affairs and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts and Harvard Universities; dissertation advisor, Henry Kissinger). He was deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement at home and abroad. In academe, Ralph directed Boston University's Overseas Graduate Programs in Europe and taught at Heidelberg University, the Free Universities of Berlin and Brussels. In politics, he was a policy adviser to the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush Administrations, and to NATO, the UN Development Program, the World Bank/IFC and the U.S. National Governors Association. Most recently, he served on the Obama Administration's White House National Export Initiative. During a decade with then-Control Data Corporation (CDC), Ralph served as VP for Government and Public Affairs and as special assistant to his mentor, CDC's pioneering founder and chairman/CEO, William Norris. As SVP for the American Electronics Association, he established the first U.S. electronics industry representation offices in Brussels, Tokyo and Beijing in cooperation with Commerce Department Secretary Malcolm Baldridge. Ralph organized the first industry-wide U.S. Electronics Summits and pioneered bilateral political/industry summits between U.S., Chinese, European and Japanese technology and government leaders. His entre' into China was facilitated by sponsors Jiang Zemin (then President of the PRC) and Electronics Minister Li Tie Ying, with whom he launched the initial U.S.-PRC "Electronics Bridge."Ralph served on many industry, investment and academic boards, including: the California World Trade Commission; the National Advisory Councils of the University of Utah, Utah State University and Utah Valley University; the Utah Technology Alliance under two Governors (co-chair); the U.S. National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), comprised of business/government leaders from 20 Pacific Rim nations (organizer/host); and the U.S. Advisory Committee on Telecommunications for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (chair). In 2007, Ralph accepted the Award for Corporate Excellence from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the U.S. Department of State for his leadership in African economic and social development. From 1988 until his passing, he served as chairman/CEO of International Business Catalysts, a global firm devoted to funding, M&A and strategic alliances.Ralph is survived by his wife; their children Brook (Jenny), Kimball (Joei), Heidi (Mike Marshall), Tracy (Kevin Kiernan) and Preston (Hollie); 17 adoring grandchildren; his sister Kristin (Grant Paulsen); and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents and his sister Susan (Steve Walker). Funeral services will be held Friday, December 30, 2011 at Noon at the Salt Lake Ensign Stake Center, 135 A Street, Salt Lake City. A viewing will be held Thursday, December 29 from 6-8 p.m. at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City. Interment will be at the Wasatch Lawns Cemetery, 401 South Highland Drive, Salt Lake City. Special thanks to Dr. Terry Box, Janet Woodruff and the team at the University of Utah Transplant Clinic, and to Charlie Piner and her hospice team. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the U of U Liver Transplant Clinic. Online condolences can be made at www.larkinmortuary.com