Ralph Duarte Jr.
December 15, 1939 – November 24, 2021
Ralph was born into a family of immigrant parents from Michoacán, Mexico in the town of Durango. He was the third brother of nine siblings. Every summer, he worked in the fields of Fresno, Corcoran, Madera, Santa Clara, Cupertino, and Sacramento, California where he worked alongside his siblings and their parents up and down the fields picking cherries, apricots, prunes, walnuts, strawberries, figs, grapes, peaches, lemons, almonds, lettuce, tomatoes, and cotton. On weekends, he worked pruning trees. Later, he earned his diploma at Fremont High School.
He had big hands; a strong back; and a deep voice. His strong work ethic and loyalty culminated into 32 years of service at Ford Motor Company, which had moved him from his suburban home in San Jose to Gladstone, Missouri for a better life with an acre of land.
He was married to Mary Llamas for 15 years, then divorced. He remarried Vicki Ballin and they were married for 33 years. His children remember him as a no nonsense, stubborn, honest, humorous, dependable, and simple man. He said, "I am a jack of all trades and master of none." His love of learning, positivity and working with wood taught him how to fix most things around the house. His love of God developed and ripened in old age. He made canes and gave them away and translated for Spanish speaking customers in stores. He was so friendly and talkative with everyone he encountered and treated them with respect. He loved his family and was proud of his six grandchildren: Travis, Mikey, Amber, Teeny, Daniel, and Andrew.
As a widower, he leaves behind four of his five children: Debbie, Lisa, Ralph and Frank. He joined his wife Vicki and his first son Michael into the arms of Jesus after his battle with cancer.