OBITUARY

Ralph Hartman

August 2, 1941January 9, 2021

Ralph Hartman, a retired Secret Service agent and family man with incredible talents for woodworking, died Jan. 9, 2021 while fighting complications from the COVID-19 virus.

Ralph was born in the summer of 1941 to Victor and Geneva Hartman in Tipton, Missouri. His family owned a farm, and Ralph and his two brothers, Kenny and Jerry, grew up working together to make the farm a success. Ralph, like his brothers, developed into a good athlete and played basketball through high school. Ralph also became a fine musician learning to play the trumpet during his high school years.

After graduating, he joined the Army, which would eventually pay his way through college on the GI Bill. His assignment after boot camp capitalized on his musical talent and led to him serving in the US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, a ceremonial division that performs in period dress at national landmarks, ceremonies and parades. While performing with the corps on the grounds of the White House, Ralph learned about and met agents in the US Secret Service, which inspired Ralph to study law enforcement at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg. There he met his future wife Barbara while on a double date, though they were both matched up with the other person. They quickly gravitated towards each other and never left one another's side for the next half century.

He and Barbara were married and Ralph was accepted into the Secret Service over the course of a few months in 1969. During the next two decades, this new job led to worldwide travel and working assignments ranging from protective details in the White House to undercover operations against counterfeit printing organizations. After retiring, The family moved permanently to the Kansas City area and Ralph worked for Allied Signal as head of physical security. In his later years, he provided security for Billy and Franklin Graham with other retired Secret Service colleagues.

His home life was (usually) a bit less eventful than his working life, though in raising two strong-willed boys, he used his law enforcement skills occasionally to investigate their disagreements. In raising his sons, he was buoyant and even keeled, never raising his voice except in happiness. Ralph looked for humor in life and was always quick with a clever saying, though he spoke loudest and most fervently through his actions. If he invited you into his wood shop to show you his latest project or better yet made something for you, well, you knew you were in Ralph’s inner circle. His proudest woodworking achievement was building all the furniture, cabinetry and moulding in the final house where he lived until his passing.

Ralph was preceded in death by his wife Barbara. He is survived by his brothers Kenny and Jerry and his sons, Rhett and Travis.

Services

  • Visitation

    Thursday, January 14, 2021

  • Graveside Service, Military Honors & Interment

    Thursday, January 14, 2021

Memories

Ralph Hartman

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Brian Hartman

January 20, 2021

I am having a hard time picking a favorite memory of my uncle and God father Ralph Hartman.

Some of my earliest memories of Ralph were as a little kid, maybe some of my earliest memories period.

I remember crawling around on the floor of of their apartment as a toddler. I remember Uncle Ralph taking me shooting BB guns at a pond by their house in Arlington Texas and the Kelsay farm in Latham, Mo.

I remember spending more summers and holidays with Barbara and Ralph. Thankful that we all had such a bond from the brother's love.

I remember uncle Ralph picking us up from school in a convertible car with a Telly Savalas police light on the dash and a speaker phone calling us over.

When I was a Sr. in college, Ralph was chief of security for Pope John Paul II when he was on tour. After Ralph found out that i was interested in going he mailed me some cryptic instructions and a couple of maps of the farm land in San Antonio TX with the OK to bring as many friends as I could. Like everything else with Ralph this was an adventure. My friends doubted me until the last second wanting to just turn around several times. When it was all said and done, Ralphie had us taken to the front row for the mass in a stretch golf cart. We couldn't have been any closer to the pope unless we would have been a priest in the mass.

I have had a life long love of woodworking fostered by my dad and Ralph. My dad was a carpenter; Ralph was a master woodworker. I am happy to be somewhere in between.

Anyway, here's a pic of a bed that's been in the family for 150 yrs +/-. I remember looking at the box of parts that were in my parents garage for almost 50. Ralph brought that bed back to life, delivered it to our house with a custom mattress that he had made and did the final finish under my wife Elizabeth's direction/request


Uncle Ralphie you will be missed but never forgotten.

Carmen Leahy

January 14, 2021

Oh, how I will miss my amazing Uncle Ralphie. Ralph's belly laugh could fill up a room; I loved the way he greeted me by throwing his arms up in the air as he walked toward me for a big hug, exclaiming "Oh, Carmie!" He was a steady, calming presence in the midst of my often intense family, rising early in the morning to enjoy his coffee and read the paper. My life is filled with happy childhood memories at his house--like football in the backyard at Thanksgiving, paintball adventures with all my boy cousins, and of course, the time he took us to a room full of counterfeit money and big guns! How many can say they have such an uncle? Ralph once told me, "Carmen, if you knew the threat on this country each day, you would never leave the house." He was a secret service agent and I was very proud of him, but his biggest impact on me was his relationship with my Aunt Barbara. As my parents' marriage fell apart, I questioned if love really could be lasting, if marriages really could bring happiness. Barbara and Ralph were living proof that love, when you find it, can be real and sustaining. Ralph was always loving and supportive to Barbara, and whether he knew it or not, I was watching closely. The example of their great love gave me the courage to love and trust in my own life.
In recent years, I would see Ralph in the summers at my dad's lakehouse. He always brought food that amazed us: fall-off-the-bone ribs or tacos served on homemade tortillas from a press that he made in his woodshop (I mean, really, who has an uncle like this!?!) He brought a cooler of beer and a heart full of love. I will miss him dearly.

Kennedy Troy

January 14, 2021

to know him is to love him. uncle ralphie was always one to lighten a room, and being able to spend time with all the brothers in march, is now something i will cherish forever. you learn to realize not to take any second spent with the ones you love for granted. rest easy uncle ralphie, i promise to keep grandpa kenny in check for you 😉

Barbara Prestage

January 14, 2021

Ralph was one of the brothers I never had. When he was in college and drove a sporty convertible he always let me have his car for the weekend when he came home to Tipton. He must have been nuts, but I blame him for my having to have a sporty convertible most of my life! I am blessed to have had him and Barbara as part of my life and will never forget the great fun we had together, especially those last years in Florida. Until we meet again, RIP!

Marilyn Hartman

January 14, 2021

In high school and college he always had the sportiest cars and the best looking girls because of his good looks and his winning personality!

Vernon Gage

January 14, 2021

Lots of good memories of Ralph. We sat together most mornings on the school bus. Can still see him, Kenny & Jerry running down their driveway; jumping over the old wooden gate at the road. My wife, Peggy, and Ralph were in the same high school class. Last time we got to see him was at their 50th Reunion on May 23, 2009. Condolences to his family.

Elizabeth Lutz

January 14, 2021

While it’s been tough choosing 1 memory to tell, there is one I’ve enjoyed revisiting since Ralphie’s passing. On Thanksgiving 2019, Rhett and I conducted a little interview with Ralphie and his brother Jerry. Some of my favorite lines from the recording are stories of his career and childhood that are just so “Ralphie.” Another “Ralphie” answer was to the question of “What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?” Ralphie said: getting his smoker running. I’ll never forget his wit and charm, finger point and laugh, and great bear hugs.

Marleen Lenger

January 13, 2021

My heartfelt sympathy to Jerry, Toni and Shelly and their families. How blessed and privileged I was to spend several Florida vacations with Toni and Cid as guests of Jerry and Ralph and also Barbara before her illness. Ralph had a story for everything and truly made us feel so welcome. And what a fantastic cook! Our annual trip to Ft Myers Beach next month will be bittersweet for sure. Rest in peace Ralph, and you are now with your beloved Barbara.

Mike Lutz

January 13, 2021

This day fishing was a great day—- but any day with Ralph was great. He had an infectious optimism. He did SO many projects for the Lutz family. Ralph would say “You are only limited by your imagination”. He was kind, and when you told him something you were exited by he would often reply”COOL”. We will miss his road trips to California Mo. We will miss his talents, we will miss his unending support, we will miss “Uncle Ralphy”. His nephew by marriage—Mike Lutz

Julie Edwards Patton

January 13, 2021

Pleasant memories of visiting with him when I was growing up with Toni & Shelly

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