Ralph Edward Yunker
July 2, 1928 – November 17, 2018
Ralph Edward Yunker born July 2, 1928, left this world peacefully on November 17, 2018.
Ralph, known dearly as Ralphie Boy to many, leaves behind his beloved and devoted wife of 64 years, Ann, and his daughters Elaine Carra, Karen Holloway, Susan Cray, and treasured friend, Barbara Hradil; his son-in-laws Mark Carra, Don Holloway, and George Cray; his grandchildren and their partners Dave and Allison Holloway, Alex and Heather Carra, Courtney Carra and Tom Lang, Catherine and Ryan Van Fossen, Amanda, George, and Matthew Cray; four cats and seven dogs.
He is survived by many adoring nieces and nephews located throughout the country including but not limited to California, Connecticut, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Virginia. He leaves behind dear friends in Palm Beach, Florida.
He was preceded in death by his treasured brothers Charles and George Yunker, and his sisters Mary Cross and Kathleen Phillips; and their spouses Grace and Kate Yunker, and Don Phillips.
Ralph’s legacy is one of love, humor, and kindness. He showed generosity and compassion to all. He valued the dignity of others and loved life, especially golfing, spending time with his friends and family, eating ice cream, listening to music, having family reunions, and flying airplanes. As a boy growing up in Coraopolis, PA, Ralph would climb up to the third story attic of his family’s old rambling country home to build balsa wood model airplanes and set them to sail through the open windows of his childhood.
Ralph’s dreams of flight became reality in 1951 when he enlisted and became a pilot in the United States Air Force. Ralph served as a captain in the Korean War and as a refueling pilot afterward at Strategic Air Command, McDill Air force Base in Tampa, Florida. Like many in his generation, he spoke rarely of his time in the service, but was humble and grateful to have completed every mission successfully, bringing every one of his men home safely each time. Ralph was a born leader and was called upon early and often to be a model student and to guide his fellow classmates to work together and excel.
These leadership qualities led him to a successful career in the baking industry, first as a pastry chef and eventually as a successful business man, mentor, and, along with his wife and partner Ann, owner of Village Bakery in Livingston, NJ, and Colonial Bakery in Lavallette, NJ, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.
At least 14 of the young men who began their careers with Ralph went on to own their own businesses. His achievements as an innovator and leader were recognized by the Baker’s Association where he served on their board for years in various roles including president.
On a more personal level, he served as the president of his homeowners’ association in Palm Beach, FL, imbuing the community with a sense of harmony and justice few thought possible. Ralph was the master of his ego and knew innately how to inspire others to be their best selves and serve the greater good. As broad as his reach was on the baking industry and his community, caring for his family and friends was, in his opinion, the most important thing he would do in this life.
An astute business man, Ralph was semi-retired by the time he was 40, and devoted most of his time to loving his wife and raising his three girls, nephews and nieces, and grandchildren. Every person in his life had a playmate in Ralphie. As a younger man, on any given day you could find him playing racquetball with friends, surprising his nephews with day trips to the Jersey shore, playing for endless hours with his three girls, or throwing impromptu parties with Ann for their family and friends. In later life, he was a devoted grandfather to his growing family, and when not golfing with his buddies, was attending as many of his grandchildren’s sport and school activities as he could. Each of his grandchildren knew just how special he thought they were and how much he loved them.
In those later years, Ralph never missed a chance to tell others he loved them. His example of love in action will comfort his family in their profound loss and will nurture future generations to come. His work done here on earth, our dear husband, father, grandfather, uncle, mentor, friend leaves us now for his last and greatest flight. Godspeed, Ralphie Boy.
Ralph’s family will receive visitors on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, from 4-8 pm at the LaMonica Memorial Home, 145 E. Mt. Pleasant Avenue, Livingston, NJ. The Memorial Mass will be on Wednesday, November 21, at 10 am in Holy Family Church in Florham Park, with the inurnment to follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Weinstein Inpatient Hospice and Palliative Care Center c/o Foundation for Morristown Medical Center, 475 South Street, 1st Floor, Morristown, NJ 07960 or Visiting Nurse Association of Somerset Hills, 200 Mt. Airy Road, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.
- Visitation Tuesday, November 20, 2018
- Memorial Mass Wednesday, November 21, 2018
- Inurnment Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Ralph Edward Yunker
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November 21, 2018
Mrs. Yunker, Elaine, Karen and Susan
I was saddened to see the passing of Mr Yunker. Growing up with your family and being included in day trips to Point Pleasant in the VW van in early years, and then to Lavalette when you opened the Colonial. Looking through the pictures brought back many good memories of my parents and all of you. Christmas celebrations at 27 Ashwood, and other family gatherings. The last time I can remember speaking to Ralph was at my moms services, so happy all of you had so many years of happiness, he was a good man. Godspeed Ralpie boy, and know he will be remembered fondly.
James (Peaches) Reeve
November 19, 2018
My Friend, my boss, my mentor,etc. Made me who I am today. With his kindness Ralph gave both my sister (Mary) and me our first job and steered us on the best path in life,. There was/is only one Ralphie Boy and Ann. Lavalette mourns this man. I am forever greatfull to have known him. Love to all, Peaches