TYLER, RALPH C. (15 Jul. 1921-17 Aug. 1998), a pioneer for black engineers, was a chief design engineer and chief project engineer for interstate construction projects throughout northeast Ohio. Tyler was also a gifted athlete. He was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma, to Katherine (Mason) and Ralph M. Tyler, a Deputy U.S. Marshall and later a hotel manager. Tyler moved to Cleveland as a child and graduated from Central High School. He entered the Army during World War II and served as a master sergeant in Asia. Subsequently, Tyler attended Ohio State University where he became the NCAA long-jump champion in 1944. He also ran dashes and hurdles and was captain of the track team. Tyler obtained a Bachelors Degree and certification as a surveyor from OSU in 1948. Tyler served as the assistant to the state highway director from 1966 to 1968, when Cleveland Mayor CARL B. STOKES appointed him service director for the city. He served four years under Stokes successor, Mayor RALPH J. PERK. Tyler also worked with the Cuyahoga County engineer's office and the architectural firm of Madison and Madison International. In 1979, Tyler established his own office, which grew to include 95 employees and purchased the 12th-Chester Building in 1997.
Tyler served on the state board of the American Public Works Association and on the advisory committee of the deans of engineering of OSU and CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY. He was a trustee of Mount Zion Congregational Church for more than 40 years. Tyler also served on the executive board of the CUYAHOGA COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY. OSU gave him its Outstanding Civil Engineering Alumni Award. He was inducted into both the OSU Sports Hall of Fame and the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1949, Tyler married Mabel Saundra Webb and they had two children: Ralph S. Jr. and Kim D. Tyler died at the Hospice of the Western Reserve and is buried in the Highland Park Cemetery.