Funeral services for Ralph Ripley were Friday, Sept. 14 at the First Presbyterian Church, Onida.
Ralph was born on April 14, 1929, in Sully County, SD, to Ralph D. and Mary (Curvo) Ripley. Born in Richvalley Township then moved to West Onida Township and lived there the rest of his life. He was the oldest of three children and the boys were raised on the family farm in Sully County.
He attended school at West Onida School, graduated for 8th grade in 1943, attended Onida High School and graduated in 1947. In the fall of 1947 he went to Yankton College, in Yankton, SD. He left in July of 1949 with a two year teachers’ certificate. Following college, he came home and helped his father farm until he joined the Army on May 15, 1951.
After two years of service Ralph returned home. Upon his return he attended college in both Yankton and Aberdeen. After graduation he briefly taught in Lennox, SD, before moving back to Sully County to teach country school and sell life insurance policies. Shortly after moving back to Sully County, he met Caroline Boroff. The two married on June 21, 1956 and spent many happy years on the farm prior to her passing in 2008. In 1959 he took over the family farm which he operated until 1971.
After operating the farm, Ralph went to work for Lamb’s Chevrolet as the parts manager. He worked as the parts manager until he retired at the age of 62. In his retirement he worked at Lamb’s Discount and at Stahl’s Sinclair and helped Lyle Ebert with fall harvest.
Ralph was always known as a hard worker. As many hours as he spent at work he more than likely put more hours into his passions during his free time. Ralph always maintained what he called a “garden”. Though this was no regular backyard garden, as it generally filled eight acres. He loved planting in the spring, tending the rows in the evenings, and harvest in the fall. He enjoyed traveling to various farmer’s markets to visit with other area gardeners. He especially enjoyed having the kids come out to the farm to pick their own pumpkins before every Halloween.
As a young man Ralph served in the Army. He took basic training and leadership training in Fort Riley, Kansas. He was stationed in Okinawa and served as the company supply sergeant.
Ralph was a devoted Legionnaire. He joined in 1953. He was dedicated to recruiting new members to the post. He also served in many positions over the years such as District Post Commander in 1960, was active in the Firing Squad since 1954, served as Post Adjutant in 1959, then again in April of 1980 became the Post Adjutant the second time and held the job until December, 2007. He served as post membership chairman since 1996 and Post Americanism Officer since 2001. Ralph was the District Commander for two terms from 2002-2006, and was the District Treasurer from 2002-2008. He also served several decades in the Honor Guard. He instigated the carrying of the Colors out on the playing field for every home football game and had not missed one football game since he started it.
When the work was done he could always be seen around town having coffee, singing in church, or grabbing a microphone anywhere there was karaoke. After failing health stopped him from the joys of his garden and serving with the legion he kept his love of singing to the very end. He especially loved to sing Hank Williams Gospel songs.
Ralph is survived by his children, James (Nina) Ripley and Jodene (Joe) Bartels; 12 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Mary Ripley; his wife, Caroline Ripley; his children, Charles Ripley, and JoAnn Ripley; his brothers, Delbert “Rip” Ripley, and Lawrence “Smokie” Ripley; and his sisters-in-law, Lorraine Ripley, and Donna Ripley.
Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridge is in charge of arrangements.