Ralph has donated his body to the University of Iowa for anatomical study. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held 1 p.m. Saturday, May 25, in the Vandemore Funeral Home, Geneseo. Memorials may be left to Izaak Walton League, Geneseo Chapter.
Ralph was born on March 13, 1937, in Toulon, Ill., the son of Duane and Doris Rist Smith. He was united in marriage to Lois G. Walsh on Sept. 5, 1959, in Cuba, Ill. Lois preceded him in death in 2011.
Ralph worked 34 years for John Deere & Co. as a draftsman engineer from which he retired in 1992.
He had been a member of the First United Methodist Church in Geneseo. He was very active in the Izaak Walton League, Boy Scouts of America and Carpenters for Christ, and he and his wife Lois were very active and instrumental in the Heifer Project International and promoting their organization. Ralph started and organized mission trips to Jamaica for dental care for the needy, which are still ongoing today. The past two years they dedicated their trip to Ralph in his name.
He enjoyed and appreciated the wonderful service the First Baptist Church provided on Sundays at the Long Term Care Unit. He enjoyed woodworking, yard work and tending his roses.
Survivors include two sons, Patrick (Mary) Smith, Commerce City, Colo., Robert P. (Sharon) James, Geneseo; a daughter: Laurie (Jim) Cullen, Roswell, Ga.; a daughter-in-law, Linda James, Tomah, Wis.; six grandchildren, Jennifer, Heather, Christopher, Melissa, Jorden and Delaney; two great-grandchildren, Alicia and Camden. Ralph was preceded by his parents; his wife Lois; a son Hank James; 3 brothers; and his granddaughter, Tyler.
Share a message of sympathy with family at vandemorefuneralhome.com