Ralph Shockey '37 | Handley 100th Anniversary Notable
Ralph Shockey ’37

Ralph Shockey graduated from John Handley High School with the Class of 1937. A talented musician, he played clarinet with the Handley band and orchestra as well as with “Professor” W. H. McIlwee’s Municipal Band.

Ralph joined his father and brother Jim (Class of 1930) in the family’s general contracting business immediately after high school. Once stating that he had started by digging foundations by hand, he played a major role in the Shockey Companies through various leadership positions for 82 years including as President and Chairman of the Board.

Ralph served with the Army in the European Theater during World War II. After his return from the war in 1946, the family formed Howard Shockey and Sons before creating Crider and Shockey Concrete Ready Mix operations and later the Shockey Precast Group. By 2006, the companies employed more than 500 people.

Ralph Shockey was involved with the creation of some the region’s most recognized structures. The Shockey companies provided design and build services for commercial buildings, industrial buildings, the Winchester Medical Center and schools that included the Virginia Avenue-Charlotte DeHart Elementary School and James Wood High School. Shockey led the renovation of John Handley High School in 1977 and the major renovation of the school that started in 2005. 

The Shockey Precast Group provided the material for the construction of major manufacturing facilities in the region as well as the material for numerous bridges and Winchester’s parking facilities. 

Under Ralph Shockey’s leadership, Howard Shockey and Sons was general contractor for the construction of the Loudoun Street pedestrian mall in 1974. Beginning in the mid-1980’s, Ralph and his son Clay (Class of 1976) developed Winchester’s Meadow Branch subdivision.

Ralph was involved with the community in many ways. He served on the Business Attraction Committee of the Winchester/Frederick County Economic Development Commission and on the Board of Directors of Winchester/Frederick County Industrial Development Corporation. He was President of Mount Hebron Cemetery Board of Managers and a member of the Board of the Salvation Army.  

He was a member of the Board of Trustees serving as Vice President and Chair of the Building Committee of Shenandoah University. He chaired the presidential search committee in 1982. He was the recipient of the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award and the Shenandoah University Award for Distinguished Service.

He received the Honorary AGC Award of the Associated General Contractors of Virginia in 1981 and the 2002 Distinguished Citizen Award from the Shenandoah Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Winchester-Frederick County Chamber of Commerce named Ralph Shockey the 1997 Citizen of the Year. He was described at that time as “a quiet leader in the community who does not seek notoriety but seeks a better community.”

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