The gates of Heaven opened at 7:05 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, to welcome home a truly wonderful man.
Ralph Raymond Wright finished his life journey at the Veterans hospital in Danville, Ill., surrounded by his family and a very dedicated and the caring staff who helped make his transition peaceful.
Ralph was born July 5, 1918, in Danville to Hyta and Ina Wright, where he lived his younger life working on the family farm around State Line, Ind.
He left the farming life and married his soulmate, Marie Kirkpatrick, on Sept. 15, 1940. They celebrated 76 wonderful years before her passing on July 9, 2016.
He started work as a truck driver for The Paxton Wholesale Grocery Company delivering bread to stores in central Illinois. He was then called on by his country to serve in the United States Navy during World War II aboard the USS Davis, a destroyer protecting his country in the European Theater. He was honorably discharged on Jan. 8th, 1946, and began a career as a manager for the Grab It Here grocery chain, something he truly loved because it gave him the opportunity to interact with people.
After 22 years at Grab It Here, he continued his management skills for another 20 years at the Catlin IGA. After retiring, he enjoyed working at Danville Gardens and Beef House Restaurant planting and tending to flowers, a true passion he enjoyed for many years.
Ralph's children grew up with the ever-present sound of various tools as he worked on the family home. Plaster dust mixed with saw dust punctuated by a few very exciting electrical incidents was the norm as he continuously remodeled the family home. He built a greenhouse that allowed him to care for his flowers all year long. He never lost patience even though the boys tested the limits many times such has using his new garage as a backstop for bow and arrow practice or taking over the garage and driveway to work on their hot rods with friends. Always the perfect father, he knew when to just look the other way and shake his head.
Ralph was well-known in the community and loved by all who worked under his direction. He thought of them as his extended family. He never met a stranger and lived his entire life as a very fair and giving person.
He was deeply involved in activities for his children as they grew up including school activities, Boy Scouts, Little League and PTA. He supported his community whenever they called and would go to great lengths to ensure charity events were successful. Ralph was a devoted Christian and practiced his strong beliefs daily.
Ralph and Marie started their family with Dennis (Dona) Wright of DeLand, Fla., Curt (Nancy) Wright of Danville and Michele (Jeff) Sims of Sisters, Ore. Throughout the years he was blessed with grandchildren, Stefanie Pratt of Savoy, Kay Sims of Portland, Ore., and Rachel Sims of Olympia, Wash. Ralph leaves behind to cherish his memory a brother, Frank (Pat); brother-in-law, Paul (Karen) Kirkpatrick; sister-in-law, Sharon Wright; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Carl and Jim Wright; and a special brother and sister-in-law, Earl and Ruth Kirkpatrick.
A memorial service will be 1 p.m. Central time Dec. 3, at Second Church of Christ in Danville with dinner following. Private inurnment will be at the VA National Cemetery for both Ralph and Marie, with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, the family would be honored with a donation toward the Land of Lincoln Honor Flights, Inc. to thank veterans for their sacrifice to this country.
Arrangements made at Sunset Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 3940 N. Vermilion St., Danville. Please join Ralph's family in sharing memories, photos and videos of his life on his Tribute Wall at www.sunsetfuneralhome.com.
Published on  November 30, 2016