RALPH A. KERBER MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
The Ralph A. Kerber Memorial Foundation
(the “Foundation”) was established on September 14, 2000 to honor the memory of Ralph A. Kerber. Ralph was a prominent civic and business leader in the greater Southern California area for many years. Although he belonged to and was honored by many different organizations during his lifetime, he is best known as the founder and owner of Kerber Bros., Inc., the largest swimming pool plastering company in Southern California.
Following his untimely death, many family, friends, and business associates requested that they have the opportunity to honor Ralph through good work in his name, and from these requests the idea of the Foundation was developed. Funding for the foundation comes through contributions from family, friends and business associates of Ralph. The present Trustees of the Foundation are: Mrs. Janet C. Kerber Roberts (Mrs. Ralph A. Kerber), Mr. William Allen, Lowell Roberts, Vickie Hawkins, Patti Wagner and Kurin Duff.
The Trustees of the foundation have created the Ralph A. Kerber Scholarship Program to provide education and career advancement opportunities to individuals or their family members that worked in the swimming pool and spa construction and maintenance industries in the greater Southern California area. These are people that Ralph would have known and worked with were he still alive. Thus, an eligible student or a family member must work for a swimming pool and spa contractor, sub-contractor, maintenance company or supply house in the greater Southern California area. Employment can either be in the field or in the office. At least one written reference from an industry member establishing a relationship which meets the above requirement is required.
About Ralph A. Kerber
The late Ralph A. Kerber is remembered as one of American business’s truest success stories. A self-made entrepreneur who, in spite of humble beginnings and modest formal schooling, valued and promoted the importance of higher education as a means of better achieving the American dream.
Ralph was born on April 21, 1933 in Los Angeles, California. At the age of five, his father passed away, leaving his mother in charge of raising three young sons. Eventually, his mother re-married.
His adolescence was spent trying to make the best of his family’s economic hardships, which included taking on a paper route at the age of seven. He longed for the day when he could rise above the impoverished dirt floors, and the cardboard that covered the holes in his shoes.
While a junior in high school, Ralph was mistakenly blamed for another student’s immature prank and told he would be failed from his history class. Since graduation from high school required passing the class, Ralph decided to quit school altogether- a decision he regretted for much of his life.
Seeking to overcome life’s early obstacles, Ralph worked diligently at the jobs he subsequently held. An old sock became his bank where he would put away as much of his earnings as possible; it served as a symbol of his goal to become successful, by his own efforts, would begin to take shape.
In 1952, with a $137 income tax return check, Ralph started his own swimming pool plastering company, Kerber Brothers, thus setting his course to become a self-made success in the business world.
In addition to being a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Ralph was also a champion water skier and cyclist and an avid USC football fan. Yet one of Ralph’s most lasting accomplishments has been his business. Today, Kerber Brothers hold the distinction of being the largest swimming plastering company in California.
For the remainders of his years, Ralph became an even stronger supporter of higher education. Through a success in his own right, Ralph continued to place a profound value on academics and the importance of completing a college degree to truly succeed in life. His hope was to inspire young adults to place a college education at the top of their priority list.
Ralph’s legacy lives on in the Foundation named after him that continues to support his highest principle: success in life through education and hard work. Since 2001, the Ralph A. Kerber Memorial Foundation has realized Ralph’s dream to inspire academic excellence in America’s future business leaders, by rewarding a number of college scholarships to deserving students connected to the Southern California pool and spa industry.