Ralph was the son of a Pentecostal minister, and husband of Evangeline Otto (married 1948).
He attended Southern California Bible College (now Vanguard University) in Costa Mesa.
He then served as minister of music at the Calvary Assembly, Inglewood, California (1946) and Temple Baptist Church, Los Angeles, California (1954).
He wrote music for Billy Graham films such as Mr. Texas, For Pete’s Sake, The Restless Ones and His Land.
In 1964, he founded the Lexicon Music company. He was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1985, and the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2001. In 1997, Vanguard University awarded him a doctorate in music.