Ralph D. Mawdsley (1941-2022)


Ralph D. Mawdsley, age 80, of Elyria, Ohio, passed away on June 9, 2022. He was born on October 5, 1941 in Alton, Illinois, to Irvin and Lois Simons Mawdsley.

He graduated from Augustana College before earning a J.D. from the University of Illinois, a M.Div. magna cum laude from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 2010.

He was a member of the bar in Illinois and Minnesota, and served as a prosecutor in Danville, Illinois. A teacher for 50 years, he began his career teaching 7th and 8th grade science at K.D. Waldo Middle School in Aurora, Illinois. He taught and served as the superintendent at Fourth Baptist Christian School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He then served as Professor of Educational Law and Religion as well as Administrative Counsel at Liberty University before moving to Cleveland State University, where he taught for 26 years.

Prior to his retirement from CSU in 2017, he held the Roslyn Z. Wolf Endowed Chair in Urban Educational Leadership. He taught at the University of Pretoria as a Fulbright Scholar in 2005 and at the Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University in Australia as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in 2009. He served as president of the Education Law Association (formerly NOLPE) in 2001.

In the course of his career, he wrote 33 books and 567 articles, book chapters, and other publications in the field of education law.

Ralph enjoyed rugby, reading, birdwatching, and playing the bagpipes. He also loved to travel with his wife and sons, particularly to South Africa and Australia, where he was a member of both countries’ national education law associations.

While at Liberty University, he served as Dean of the Oxford Study Program and traveled to Oxford University five times.

He met Alice Shoger while at the University of Illinois, and they were married in 1967. He is survived by Alice; their two sons and their spouses: Jonathan and Cory, James and Shelia; by his siblings: Joyce Wilkins, Harold, and Merlee Hunt; and by many cousins and nieces and nephews.

A graveside service and interment will take place at the Lincoln Memorial Park in Aurora, Illinois, on Saturday, June 18, 2022. For guestbook and directions visit www.dieterlememorialhome.com