Ralph A. Gerra was born in 1920 in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame, where he was the class valedictorian. He entered Columbia Law School in the fall of 1941 and then left to enlist in the Navy where he was on active duty from 1942 to 1946, stationed in Adak, Alaska, and then in the Naval Reserve until 1955. After leaving active duty with the rank of lieutenant, he returned to Columbia and earned his law degree in 1947. Upon successfully passing the NY Bar exam in 1947, he worked as an associate in Manhattan, first at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, and then at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. In 1953 he was recruited by Bethlehem Steel and worked there as a tax attorney, retiring in 1982. In 1973 he was elected to the position of General Tax Counsel at Bethlehem Steel. After retiring from Bethlehem Steel, he worked from 1983 to 1988 as Special Counsel at the NYC law firm of Lord, Day & Lord. He was a long-time member of the Bars of the US Supreme Court, US Tax Court, State of New York, and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was active for many years in tax policy and legislation, served as a President and Director of the National Tax Association and also as Chairman of the Value Added Tax Committee of the ABA Section of Taxation. He was a long-time member of the Taxation and Policy committees of the US Chamber of Commerce and was a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel.