OBITUARY

Ralph Clifford Marcuson

September 23, 1929April 2, 2021

Ralph Clifford Marcuson was born on September 23, 1929 and passed away on April 2, 2021 and is under the care of Olinger Chapel Hill Mortuary & Cemetery.

Memorial Service will be held on May 22, 2021 at 11:00 am at Olinger Chapel Hill Mortuary & Cemetery, 6601 South Colorado Blvd, Centennial, CO.

You may leave a message for the family by clicking here.

Services

22 May

Memorial Service

11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Olinger Chapel Hill Mortuary & Cemetery

6601 South Colorado Blvd
Centennial, CO 80121

Memories

Ralph Clifford Marcuson

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Elsie Holz

April 17, 2021

Mr. Marcuson was such a treasure, so kind hearted, putting up with a bunch of college kids when we went out to the farm - Gods speed to him, and prayers to the families.

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Biography

Ralph was born on September 23, 1929 in a sod farmhouse near Oberlin, Kansas in the Lund community. His parents were Walfred (Elvin) and Selma Marcuson. Ralph was raised on the farm and grew up in the "Dirty Thirties" as a youngster along with his older brother Wally. During these difficult times Ralph learned how to be very resourceful from both living on a farm and the necessity of the times.

      Ralph attended a one room sod schoolhouse in rural Kansas a couple of miles from the farmhouse. During his grammer years he rode his Shetland pony named Spot to school or gave his neighbors a ride to school. Dad had fond memories of Spot as apparently the pony would ride up against the barbed wire fence intent on forcing him to abandon his mount. Once he was on the ground the pony would run back to the house leaving him to walk the rest of the way to school. Once he reached high school age he boarded in Oberlin during the week while attending Decatur High School where he graduate in 1947. While in High School Ralph enjoyed being a part of teams and took part in football, wrestling, and baseball. His family and he were very active in the Lund community through the Lund Covenant Church as well as the network of cousins and other relations in the immediate area.
    
    After graduating from Decatur High School he enrolled at Kansas State and studied Agronomy. While attending Kansas State he was drafted into the United States Air Force and was stationed at Hill AFB in Ogden UT. He was in the Air Force from 1951 to 1955 and trained at Chanute AFB and then Santa Maria, CA for Airplane Mechanic training. After training he became flight engineer and then a crew chief. As a crew chief/flight engineer he flew with the 437th Troop Carrier Wing that later changed to the 315th Air Division (Combat Cargo) in the Korean war where he dropped paratroopers, flares, equipment, propaganda, and transported wounded soldiers. He took part in the last air combat mission over Korea before the armistice was signed on July 26th '51. After the armistice was signed he continued to fly humanitarian missions throughout the area. Once back in the States he flew the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line) with the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Through his hard work and dedication, he achieved the rank of Senior Airman and received several awards, including a Korean Service Medal, Air Crew Badge, Air Medal, UN service, National Defense Service, and Good Conduct.

After being discharged he attended CU in Boulder, CO and studied Aerospace Engineering. While attending CU he met and fell in love with Virginia Griffith and married in 1958 and had two sons Mark (1960) and Kirk (1965). Virginia fell ill with a renal kidney disease and died of acute renal failure in in 1968. This drove Ralph to design/develop and build a prototype in order to improve on a kidney dialysis system that could be portable. In 1974 he met Linda Erlandson (Wood) who had a son named Brian and they were married in 1975 and had a son Greg (1978). One of Ralph’s most endearing qualities was his uncanny ability to remember people and where they came from as well as locations.


      Ralph was very sociable and never knew a stranger. He was always more interested in who he was talking to than anything else around him and was always thoroughly engaged in that conversation. He was intensely interested in that person and asked lots of questions and would come away from most conversations knowing the person where they were from as well as some of their family history. He was fantastic at retaining their names as well as the other relevant info. about them that he had found out. He was straightforward in how he approached relationships, friends and family knew that what they saw was always what they got. He very much enjoyed the camaraderie of being with a group of friends, or working on a team for a project. Those close to Ralph came to expect his high standards of performance at work. While growing up, some of his best friends were Gail Marcuson, Lemoin (Shreddy) Ralston, Clive Anderson, and Merlin Anderson. Later in life, he became friends with Donald Bieseker, Don and Eloise Duel, David and Mary Anderson, various social groups involving KSU alumni and old work buddies that he would get coffee with.


      Ralph was ever watchful of his children. He worried about them and was deeply concerned for their development as they grew up. He maintained a firm hand in their upbringing. Ralph would give his stamp of approval to their requests, as long as he could see how they might benefit. Ralph was blessed with four children, three sons, Mark, Kirk, Greg, and one step son Brian Wood. They were also blessed with 8 grandchildren, Tim, Brad, Derek, Jacob, Jae, Caleb, Micah, Isaac.

      Being a hard worker who praised efficiency, Ralph was always striving to make improvements where they were necessary. He was able to analyze situations and problems, keeping everything and everyone on track. An excellent project supervisor, Ralph was a person who could quickly make decisions based on the information available. He worked cooperatively and expected the same from his colleagues and received many letters of accommodation from superiors and peers. In both his personal and professional environments, Ralph upheld his standards. His primary occupation was Mechanical Engineer for Martin Marietta for Space launch systems and also as a farmer/rancher near Oberlin, KS. He worked on the Minuteman, Apollo, Skylab, and Peacekeeper programs for Martin Marietta/NASA and farmed in between. Ralph was a team player who certainly lived out the motto of “give me a job, and I will get it done.”

      Ralph approached his leisure time in the same manner that he approached his life. A person who enjoyed being neat and orderly and one who understood the nature of things, he appreciated the hours he was able to devote to his various hobbies. His favorite pursuits were working on the farm, naturopathic medicine/herbalist, fishing, and skiing and taking walks around his home. Ralph was content to enjoy his favorite pastimes alone but was also willing to share his interests with others.

      In high school, Ralph played football, wrestling, baseball. Recreational sports included Skiing. He also was something of a sports fan and enjoyed watching his favorite events whenever he got the opportunity. Tops on his list were KSU football, KSU basketball.

       Ralph liked to belong to a variety of groups and organizations. He was a vocal leader who enjoyed being a part of things. Throughout his later years, Ralph was an active member of the Lund Covenant Church as well as the Denver Covenant Church.

      A civic-minded person, Ralph was usually ready to jump in and help with community activities. Ralph was a member of several community groups, including being the president of the Decatur County Area Chamber of Commerce and also served on the board for the ASCS (agricultural) Committee.

      Faith was important to Ralph. For that reason he held deep spiritual beliefs that he was willing to share. He was a member the Covenant Church in Denver and Lund community his entire life. During that time, he was a Deacon, Treasurer, and Elder and teacher.

       Ralph could graciously accept a “thank you” extended to him by those he helped. However, individual recognition wasn’t a motivating force for Ralph; rather, when he saw that there was a need to get something done, he was more than willing to give his time and energy in order to see it accomplished. One of the accomplishments he was most proud of was inventing, designing and building a portable Dialysis machine in the late 1960's. He was also very proud of working on the Skylab emergency repair team as well as the Challenger Shuttle investigation during his time as an engineer for Martin Marietta.


      He retired from the space programs around 1989 and from farming in 2016. He stayed in Centennial Co. he found new pleasure in Skiing, taking walks and spending time with his grand children. In many ways, It provided him with the opportunity to catch up with old acquaintances and attend functions and group outings.

      Ralph passed away on April 2, 2021 at Porter Hospice in Centennial, CO. from complications of Dementia. He is survived by his wife Linda, Sons, Mark and Joan, Kirk and Sherry, Greg and Karen, and his stepson Brian Wood. Services held will be held at Olinger in Centennial, CO. May 22nd 2021 and internment be in the Lund Covenant Cemetery near Oberlin, KS. at a later date.