Ralph Anthony Pax

May 9, 1934July 2, 2021

Ralph Anthony Pax, Sr. was born on May 9, 1934, in Celina, Ohio to Leo and Gertrude (Jenniges) Pax, the second youngest of eight children, and passed away on July 2, 2021.

He is survived by his wife Mary Louise (Fecke) Pax, children Margaret (Brad) DePottey, Ralph, Jr. (Jan) Pax, David (Amy) Pax, grand-children Ashley, Courtney, and Austin DePottey, Meryl (Ryan Anderson), Larson, Dayton, Jessica and Jonathan Pax, as well as by his older brother, Robert.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Leo and Gertrude, his sisters Lucille Bub, Esther Winhoven and Gertrude Farr, and his brothers Rev. Maurus Pax, O.F.M., Rev. Joseph Pax, C.PP.S., and Roman Pax.

Ralph grew up on the family farm, attended high school at Brunnerdale Minor Seminary in Canton, Ohio and continued studies at Saint Joseph College in Rensselaer, Indiana before enlisting in the U.S. Army, where he served overseas in Okinawa. Following his military service, he enrolled at University of Dayton, graduating in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. In August of 1961, he married Mary Louise Fecke in Dayton, Ohio, at Immaculate Conception Church. Continued studies at Purdue University yielded both a Master’s Degree (1962) and Doctorate (1964) in Physiology. Associate (1964) and Assistant (1968) professorships followed before his promotion to full professor in 1972. During his tenure at MSU, Ralph taught undergraduate and graduate classes, and mentored graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Ralph retired from MSU in 1997 as a recognized world expert on schistosome physiology, authoring or co-authoring over 70 research publications and receiving patents for equipment developed through his research.

Ralph enjoyed travel throughout his life, both at home and abroad, visiting all 50 states and 37 (or more) countries. He participated in scientific research in some of these destinations, as well as archeological digs, as a volunteer. He also enjoyed working with his hands, creating hand-carved caricature animals along with turned vases and bowls. He expanded to create one-of-a-kind designs for each of his grandchildren every Christmas, throughout their childhood. He could be found helping out his children as well, with home projects, building unique cabinetry and other woodwork features.

He loved the outdoors, whether fishing, camping, planting and managing timber, or just enjoying nature. Camping in the Upper Peninsula was a favorite activity with family which included fishing, hiking and canoeing.

Ralph was a member of St. James Catholic Church in Mason, Michigan.

The family would like to extend special thanks to the staff at Holt Senior Care and Rehab Center for their support. Memorial donations can be made to a charity of your choice.

Memorial mass will be held on Friday, July 16, 2021 at 11:00am at St. James Catholic Church, 1010 S Lansing St. Mason, MI 48854 with a one-hour memorial visitation prior to mass.

Friends and family who are unable to attend the memorial mass in-person are invited to join the livestream on the following website,


  • Memorial Visitation

    Friday, July 16, 2021

  • Memorial Mass

    Friday, July 16, 2021


Ralph Anthony Pax

have a memory or condolence to add?

Susan Lang Eberth

August 5, 2021

I was a neighbor of the Pax family more than 45 years ago. I played with the "Pax kids" often. I greatly appreciate the love and patience of Ralph and Mary Lou as we ran through their house. You and your family are in my heart and mind. My condolences on the passing of your husband and father.

John M Lang

July 22, 2021

I was saddened to hear of Ralph's leaving. He and my dad Charles Lang ran our neighborhood 'bug club's. He's son and I collected alot of insects. He brought our group to MSU to see an electron microscope and see how it works.
My prayers to rest of the family,
John Lang

Melissa Welsh

July 21, 2021

So sorry to hear of Ralph’s passing.

Peter Cobbett

July 12, 2021

I was very sorry to read of Ralph's death in the LSJ. Although he and I were in different departments, Ralph quietly mentored me in many conversations after I joined the MSU faculty in 1988 until his retirement - much to my regret I did not keep up with him afterwards. He left a great impression on his faculty colleagues, his graduate students, and everyone with whom he interacted at MSU. He will be missed - my condolences to you, his family.

Ted Schroeder

July 8, 2021

I have fond memories of Mr. Pax when he was our 4H leader. He taught me many things about insects, that I still remember today. I especially remember when he took our group to his lab at MSU. I was really amazed about the size of the insects from Africa. I want to give my condolences to the Pax family.