Ralph Jerry High
April 13, 1931 – June 16, 2020
Ralph Jerold High (Jerry), 89, of Austin, Tx followed his dear wife into the arms of our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ, on June 16, 2020 just seven weeks after her home going. He was preceded by his brother, Vance E. High. He leaves behind a sister, Lorraine Minton of Oak Creek, WI; his children Mark (Nellome) High of Leander, TX and Debbie (Frank) Edwards of Austin, TX.; grandchildren Brett (Barbara) Edwards of Houston, TX, Josh (Jessica) Edwards of Leander, TX and Alexandra High of College Station, TX; great grandchildren Bradley and Blake Edwards; nephews Scott (Rae Ann) High, Dean High, Terry Minton, Todd Minton, and Donald (Kim) Garver; nieces Kathy (Al) Immel, Lauree Minton, Alexandra Marshall, Donna (John) Pugh, and many great nieces and nephews. Honorary grandchildren: Matthew Ochs, Melissa Ochs Trammell and Lisa James.
Jerry was born in Oshkosh, WI to Ralph E. and Ellen (Testin) High on April 13, 1931. He grew up in the small town of Waupaca known for its 22 spring-fed lakes. Jerry was a Boy Scout growing up earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He was raised in the Methodist Church and attended Lawrence College (now Lawrence University) before entering the Naval Academy where he graduated in 1954. He was very athletic playing wide receiver in football, basketball center and ran track and field holding records in the high jump for many decades. The Air Force needed pilots and the prospect of extra pay lured him away from the Navy and he entered a career in the Air Force as a B-52 pilot among other jobs. He spent four years working at NATO in Brussels, Belgium and then finished his career at the Pentagon. He retired after 24 years and came to Austin, TX in 1978. He worked at Ragsdale airport as a flight instructor before settling down with Christianson Plumbing Company as their corporate pilot. He stayed with them in a number of capacities for many years before retiring a second time. Jerry was very involved at Grace Community Bible Church for the past 42 years. He came to faith in Christ through the preaching of Billy Graham and with a new-found love for the Lord, he served in many capacities: deacon, elder, choir, men’s quartet, pianist, missions director, nursery volunteer, men’s Bible studies, plus many others. He helped build their first building, was there whenever the doors were open and was always willing to help where needed. Having a truck, he has helped countless people move even into his late 80’s to the chagrin of certain family members! Jerry was well-known as being a true gentleman, generous, good humored and had a dry wit that was loved by all who knew him. His absence among us will be greatly missed and we look forward to the day when we will be reunited because of our faith in Jesus Christ!
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Friday, June 26, 2020
Ralph Jerry High
February 19, 2021
I'm not a procrastinator. Although this may be a simple read it is long thought out and heartfelt. I often recall Jerry's responses in our conversations to have not been rapid-fire, but instead seemed to be a product of careful thought and consideration. Ya get one shot at something like this, so you give it your best effort. Jerry deserves that and I believe he'd be glad I did. I wonder if the freak snow storm would have prompted tales of past skiing, or just been fodder for amazement of the event? Regardless, it would be a conversation to cherish. It seems our conversations were not terribly extensive in the short time Jerry was in our world, but they were always fun, interesting and occasionally surprising. I began flight lessons shortly after moving in across the street from Jerry and Vicki and always wanted to dump endless questions on him, but I didn't feel it appropriate. Instead I hoped he would open that talk and take the lead. It didn't happen like that and I don't care. I enjoyed helping him fire up his mower and grew comfortable with his decline of my offers to zip off his lawn. When he came to ask about a vehicle he'd gotten as a loner, I discovered that the tilt/telescoping lock on the steering had come unlocked and he drove it home with the wheel flopping up and down and in and out. We had a big chuckle about it and I wondered if he came home manipulating the controls as if it were the yoke on a big bomber. What a great guy Jerry was and, what a great friend he was to Julie and I. It was a wonderful thing that she had someone to sip sweet wine with finally. Jerry and Vicki were some of the highest points of our life and certainly a couple of our most cherished friends. We miss them both greatly.
August 3, 2020
I met this handsome young Air Force pilot when he came to Southern Illinois to marry my Aunt Viv in the 1950's. We had a piano he would pound loudly, delighting us especially with “The Whirling Dervish” which he would sing while we whirled. The two of them invited my cousin Donna and me (6 years old?) to be flower girls in their wedding, making a requirement that we had to salute him to “get the job”. Donna stepped right up, but I hung back, somewhat shy & definitely afraid I’d do it wrong. He had a great smile and an infectious sense of humor, but it took a lot of coaxing to finally get me to salute. When I did, he gave me my first set of wings. Over a decade later, he gave me my second set, when I got my pilot’s license. Meanwhile AV & UJ were stationed in Tampa, Fla. When I visited, UJ took me swimming (by himself!) at the base pool. He & AV drove their twin babies to Illinois in dresser drawers! My mother & I went to visit all in Plattsburgh, NY, when UJ was stationed there. He took me aboard a B-52 bomber for a tour. I was thrilled, even though the military wouldn't let me go up in it. Some years later I took my mother to Hawaii and UJ met us there, from Thailand, and took us on a tour of a submarine in Pearl Harbor. I knew he didn’t regret leaving the Navy for the Air Force. He loved to fly. When UJ & AV flew in from Brussels for my wedding (commercially), UJ was the back-up to give me away if my Uncle Gene couldn’t. When they retired & moved to Texas, I had a small plane in Houston & they flew with me. I still have & treasure my 2 pair of wings. They kept my beloved dog Kukachin when I went to Japan, took mother back to Illinois after a medical meltdown & recovery in Texas. He was supportive, loving & BRAVE, and through medical difficulties, a little defiant. I miss his gentle presence in the world. He loved his family & was a good man.
August 1, 2020
I met Jerry over 40 years ago at church. He came across as a very dignified and serious man and I was slightly afraid of him. It didn't take long to realize how caring and loving a gentleman he was. We worked together on the missions committee and he was totally committed to supporting our missionaries as well as educating the church on our missionaries and others. I was also the church secretary as well as the missions committee secretary. Jerry was very detailed oriented and made me a better secretary as it became my goal that he would not find a single comma out of place. He also took copious notes and I could always go to him for details on things years after the fact. Jerry truly loved God and wanted as many people as possible to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
July 22, 2020
The passing of Jerry High Is especially poignant to me. We met at Boy’s State in 1948 and stayed in touch while in high school. We both lived in small Wisconsin towns (Jerry in Waupaca and me in Waupun) about 40 miles apart. By an astonishing coincidence we both had applied to USNA (to neither’s knowledge) and were ordered in on the same day. Thus two scared hicks rode the train together to a new adventure. After Service retirements he ended up in Austin and me in Seguin, again about 40 miles apart.
We saw each other occasionally and he and Vonnie did come to my wedding in 2010. He kept a steady flow of information over the internet and when it stopped early this year I asked why. Now I know. He was a true gentleman and good friend. RIP.
Gary & Sharon Loken
July 2, 2020
The chapter closed as Mr Jerry was reunited with the love of his life, Ms Vicki. These two people helped make me who I am today. I learned unconditional, nonjudgmental love. Their light of the love of the Lord shined always. From the first day we backed our u-haul into our home on Split Rail, until the day we moved they were always there for us. They defended our family - when others judged. They uplifted and walked through the trial when our youngesgt son died unexpectedly. They were one of the best things God ever gave us. Chad was baptised as they wittnessed it. Wow, I never met more an example of LOVE as the LOVE of these two people. God bless you family, and know your parents are with the Lord, and reunited with those they loved. (Know Ms Vicki found Troy and gave him a Hug from his mother!). Fond memories and love. Gary, Sharon and Chad Loken.
Mary Agnes Edwards
July 2, 2020
I wish I could find the picture of one of my favorite memories of Jerry. We were playing corn hole at Marianna’s. He gave me pointers and was always smiling and having fun. He did beat me, but was a very gracious winner. He was a kind man and helped many people. He lived his testimony for the Lord! I will always be grateful for their love and care to Marianna.
They are all rejoicing with the Lord as they see him face to face!
My thoughts and prayers are with you, Debbie and Mark and your families!
Love, Mary Agnes(and Bill)
Laura Lee Pennington
June 29, 2020
My biggest memory of Jerry High was his generosity to invite me and my 2 sisters (Peggy, now Yammine, & Vivian Douglas) to go flying with him in his plane (I think it was in the early 80's). I loved flying dearly and somehow finagled the co-pilot's seat. He let me do some experimenting with the controls and I had a blast. Sister Peggy "hugged" the ground when we returned (flying is NOT her thing). I was impressed with his kindness to bless us in this way! I hope I didn't add gray hairs to his head-LOL
Loved seeing all the pictures on this site. I didn't know he played piano or was in the Navy and Air force. Such a handsome man to the end! Always dressed well... as did his beautiful wife!
Paul & Kathy Barger
June 27, 2020
Jerry & Vickie. You have played such a big part in our entire family! We are so thankful for the many times serving and having fellowship with you both. We loved mission meetings, Paul serving with Jerry as elders, working in kitchen & decorating with Vickie & of course the many cookies!! You were such a bright spot at Christmas for all of us & then blessed us at Jen’s wedding & the cookies made for so many evangelistic meetings. You served so faithfully every year at our CRU vision dinner & loved trying to make you play piano more frequently Jerry! You modeled marriage, ministry , and most of all walking with the Lord. We love you Jerry & Vickie & excited to be reunited in Heaven.