Ralph James Wheelden Jr.
March 30, 1936 – December 30, 2020
Following a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, Ralph James Wheelden Jr. of Centerville passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 30, 2020.
Ralph will be lovingly remembered by his former wife Linda and their daughter Katherine; his former wife Julie Atwood and their son Todd and wife Babette Wheelden, his grandchildren Drake and Fenix; his sisters Arlene McManus and Mary Smith; as well as several nieces and nephews; and lifelong friends, Burt Mullen, Skipper Gray, and Mike Carme. His parents Helen and Ralph James Wheelden Sr. predeceased him. Ralph will be missed by the caring staff at Cape Regency Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.
Ralph was a decorated athlete at Waltham High School, notably as a hockey goalie, and also played football and baseball. After graduation he enlisted in the United States Navy. He was most proud and fond of his memories, and grateful for the friends who served his country with him. He earned an honorable discharge as an Aviation 2nd Class Petty Officer. Back as a civilian, he attended classes at Wentworth Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology which led him to New England Instrument Inc. as an Electronic Technician then Vector Sales Inc. as a Sales representative.
Ralph in his early professional years was in management with Friendly’s Restaurants and the District Manager of Mister Donut shops, which led to his multi-year career as Regional Manager at International Multifoods in Minnesota. These combined service industry experiences led him to fulfill his lifelong dream along with Linda of owning and operating his own restaurant on Cape Cod, Ratoli’s Restaurant in Mashpee. After selling the business, he continued working in semi-retirement at Falmouth Country Club and Orleans Auto Supply.
Ralph was a member of the Rotary Club International, Mashpee Chamber of Commerce, and a supporter of the arts in Falmouth, the Cape Cod Curling Club, and aided several charitable organizations. He was most happy spending time with family, socializing with friends, reading with a simple cup of black coffee, golfing, skiing, listening and dancing to big band music - cutting a rug with a jitterbug - and loved the beach.
A private funeral will be held at the Massachusetts National Cemetery. Memorial Donations may be made in Ralph’s honor to Alzheimer’s Association www.alz.org
Burial will be held privately.
Ralph James Wheelden Jr.
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January 4, 2021
One of my first memories of Uncle Ralph is riding in his two-seater, convertible MG with my sisters. (that was allowed in the 60’s) He was the fun Uncle that spoiled us with love. Another fond memory is when I was 15, he took me to Filene’s Basement in Boston the day after Thanksgiving. I’ll never forget running around with him finding all the bargains and coming home with bags full. He loved clothes and was always a sharp dresser. I’ve never met anyone more appreciative than Ralph. He truly appreciated everything! Coming for a cookout and serving him a hot dog, he’d say it’s the best hot dog I’ve ever had. Serving him and eclair or a bowl of ice cream was the best ever! Receiving his yearly bottle of Old Spice Cologne from his sister Arlene would make his year. Going to a hockey game or a CC baseball game with us would be a thrill. The past few years were tough, but when we would visit with a black coffee and a donut, he would be so happy and appreciative. Just spending time and chatting, he was always so interested in others and what was going on in their life. For the new year I will be mindful of appreciating the small stuff in life as my uncle did. Ralph, I’ll always love and miss you and that great smile. Rest in Peace