OBITUARY

Ralph Gregg Kirkhuff

June 6, 1929October 1, 2020

Ralph died at Epworth Villa, Oklahoma City. Born in Oklahoma City to Ralph Eldon and Katharine Rose Kirkhuff, he was the seventh of eight children. He graduated from Classen High School in 1947, as the leading senior art student. His artistic talent and the skills he gained while working with his brick-mason father led him to acquire a Bachelor of Architecture degree from OU in 1954, receiving the prized A.I.A. student medal for excellence. After two years in the Army, mostly at Ft. Hood, he began a 30-year career with Frankfurt, Short & Bruza (1957-87), serving as project architect and project director on dozens of their largest endeavors.

In 1981 Ralph married Mary Lou Stewart Weir, a widow. In their 35 years together, Ralph and Mary Lou loved to travel the world, to attend OU sports events, and to volunteer for church functions, voting precinct work, and Mobile Meals. Ralph was a member of the American Institute of Architects and All Souls Episcopal Church in Oklahoma City.

Ralph was preceded in death by Mary Lou (2016); by his parents; and by siblings Virginia LeVrier, John Kirkhuff, Betty Lu Snider, Katharine Kreie, and Bill Kirkhuff. He is survived by sisters Rosemary Scott of Conway AR and June Edwards of Woburn MA, step-daughter Margi Weir and husband Will Patterson of Detroit MI, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A family only service will be held at 1:00 pm, Saturday, October 17, 2020 at All Souls’ Episcopal Church, 6400 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73116. The service will be live streamed for guests to join at facebook.com/allsoulsokc. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mobile Meals or All Souls’ Episcopal Church. The family wishes to thank the staff at Epworth Villa for the kind and loving care they gave to Ralph.

Services

  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, October 17, 2020

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Memories

Ralph Gregg Kirkhuff

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Ron Bebee

October 17, 2020

I worked with Ralph in the early 70’s at FSEM. It was a privilege to know him and I regret not reconnecting with him when we moved back to OKC last year after being gone 43 years. As the eulogist spoke he was a man of few words but an exacting professional who some referred to as the “old dog “ forty years ago. He knew plans and buildings and could detect a flaw or unneeded detail in his scrupulous review.
Rest In Peace -Ralph

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Biography

Biography of Ralph (Buddy / Bud) Gregg Kirkhuff, 1929-2020 ALSO, "Eulogy" from 10/17/ 2020 Service at the end. by Kenny L. Brown

Family Background

Ralph Gregg Kirkhuff lived during a formative period of Oklahoma City. For decades his father, with help of the three Kirkhuff sons, laid brick and stone masonry for numerous homes and businesses throughout the expanding town. Older brother John, adopted their father’s trade in the masonry contracting business, continuing the impact on housing and businesses. Ralph’s own degree from OU’s School of Architecture, resulted in his employment with the leading firm of Frankfurt, Short, and Bruza. For thirty years he worked assiduously and meticulously as project architect and project director to assure the proper construction of buildings for his company. A quiet, taciturn, and very pleasant professional, Ralph provided the attention to detail that helped make his colleagues successful. He applied these same characteristics to his friendships and to his thirty-five-year marriage to Mary Lou Stewart Weir Kirkhuff, His life exemplified the unassuming modesty often overlooked and under appreciated, but very essential to a thriving community.

Ralph, the seventh of eight siblings, was named after his father, Ralph Eldon Kirkhuff, thereby resulting in the boy being designated as “Buddy,” or “Bud,” to distinguish him from his namesake. Both the elder Ralph and his future wife—Katharine Louetta Rose—grew up near Geary, Oklahoma Territory, after their families moved there following the 1892 opening of the Cheyenne and Arapaho lands. Buddy’s paternal grandfather—John Gevorce Kirkhuff—apparently made the land run and inadvertently staked a claim on school land. He later rented and then purchased property near Geary. Katharine Rose, an only child, came with her parents shortly after the opening and took up a “relinquishment” claim, in other words, a quarter section that another homesteader abandoned, probably for a payment from the Roses. After schooling in Geary, Katharine gained a teaching certificate and took employment as an elementary school teacher. Her future husband learned both how to farm and how to grade and build roadways—a skill he learned from his father. Ralph and Katharine married in 1912.

Katharine soon quit teaching, and she and Ralph headed to Mississippi for about a year, where he helped construct roads with his father. In 1913 they returned to Geary, rented a farm north of town, and settled down to make a living. In addition to farming, Ralph earned money by using mule slip scrapers (early road grading devices) to improve the roads around Geary—including in 1917 a role as overall superintendent for construction of several miles of the Ozark Trail, a predecessor of U.S. Route 66. The Kirkhuffs also began having children, interspersed between a mix of short and long intervals: Virginia in 1914, John in 1915, Betty Lu in 1917, Katharine (“Kat”) in 1918, William (Bill) in 1923, Rosemary in 1928, Ralph (“Buddy”) in 1929, and June in 1934.

About 1919 Ralph and Katharine took their first four young children to live in Colorado Springs. The post-World War I economy was not kind to farmers, and Ralph also suffered the loss of a whole wheat crop due to rain. He then opted for a more stable and less risky income, hiring on as a police officer with the Colorado Springs department. After three years, the cold, snowy winters, and possibly the nature of Ralph’s work, caused the family to move back to Oklahoma. Soon they resettled on the far south side of Oklahoma City on Western Avenue, where Katharine’s parents, William and Lucy Rose, owned a home on several acres, but decided to purchase and operate a boarding house in downtown Oklahoma City on California Avenue.

Early after arriving in Oklahoma City, Ralph took training in brick laying and stone masonry, resulting in his life-long career as an expert brick layer. He associated with John Harden, G.A. Nichols, and other prominent developers and builders. Over several decades, Ralph’s crews provided the masonry work for the Farmer’s Market on Exchange Avenue (1928), for several businesses, and on countless homes in various neighborhoods—Crestwood, Edgemere, Crown Heights, Nichols Hills, The Village, and others. In the mid-1920s the growing family moved into a bungalow on west 17th Street in the Crestwood addition—a house on which Ralph worked and showed off his bricklaying expertise.

By late 1928 Ralph and Katharine sought out a small acreage on which they could plant a garden and raise chickens, cows, and horses. Katharine also hoped they could construct a permanent house copied after the large, stone farm homes she had experienced as a young child when her family had briefly lived with relatives in Pennsylvania. Late in 1928 the family moved to a 3-acre tract at the southeast corner of Grand Boulevard and 39th Street, on the western outskirts of the growing town. Their property had several advantages. It faced the interurban streetcar line that paralleled 39th Street, with a passenger stop nearby. To the back side (south) of the property ran an east-west spur line of the Rock Island Railroad. The unused rights-of-way of the railroad and of the undeveloped, dirt Grand Boulevard allowed the family to expand their small plot from three to eight acres of gardens and pastures. Finally, 39th Street also doubled as the pathway of the famed U.S. Route 66, enabling the family to rent out small buildings to antique dealers, Indian curios shop owners, and service station operators. Ralph anticipated these ventures would supplement his income, especially during times when bricklaying jobs became scarce. Eventually Katharine developed an interest in antiques and took over their small building used by a previous dealer and made it her own shop, “Kirkhuff’s Antiques,” with the slogan “By the Side of the Road.”

Ralph’s Birth, Family Life, and Education

While getting settled in this new home site, the youngest boy, Ralph Gregg Kirkhuff, was born on June 6, 1929. Nicknamed “Buddy” or “Bud” to differentiate him from his father, the new son would live at this locale for the next twenty-five years. At first, the family occupied a small, double-wide elongated temporary house without either running water and an indoor privy. The plan was to live in that home until the much larger one could be built, but the depression commenced just after they arrived. Katharine’s Pennsylvania-style dream home would have to wait another five years. In many ways, however, the acreage served as a safety net during the hard times. The small farm provided garden-grown vegetables, chickens and their eggs, fruit from newly planted trees when they matured, and cows’ milk. Along with his siblings, Buddy thrived in the setting. His older sisters pampered him, fed him treats, and conscripted him for their tea parties. At this young age Buddy demonstrated his taciturn personality trait that would characterize him throughout his life. Either heredity or environment or both caused him to say few words, measure comments or questions from others, then respond in direct, to-the-point answers. His mother, much to his chagrin, frequently told about the first time Buddy spoke in a complete sentence, which was considerably later in his life than most. His mom dressed him and got him ready to head to downtown for a shopping trip. Buddy looked at her, determined that she was not properly ready to go, and said to her: “Put your shoes on, crazy”!—his first complete sentence.

Living on the acreage with a craftsman father offered other advantages for Buddy and the other kids. His father erected swings, teeter totters, and other playground equipment. As he grew older, Buddy heard the music from the “Blossom Heather” nightclub and road house across Grand Boulevard to the west, where big bands regularly played for packed houses. During the summer, Buddy and his siblings frequently walked a mere mile to the north to swim at Highland Beach on a small lake. At many times of the year they walked or road horses to Will Rogers Park less than a half mile to the southwest.

At school age, Buddy walked to Lincoln Elementary School about a mile to the east, where he soon excelled as the leading artist in his classes—following the example of his two talented older brothers, one of whom (Bill) became a commercial artist as a career. In seventh through ninth grades Buddy traipsed across open fields and along unimproved back streets to Taft Junior High, except for during winter months when his father provided transport. Finally, the young Ralph entered Classen High School, traveling there through a combination of a street car, a bus, and on foot. At Classen, he continued to excel in art, earning the Art Nouveau Award his senior year, and gained membership in the National Honor Society when he graduated in 1947.

The elder Ralph insisted that his son spend a year and a half perfecting the craft of bricklaying so as to have a marketable skill. Buddy already had joined the work crew for a couple of summers and some weekends as a novice and helper on various of his father’s projects, including the Will Rogers, May, and Agnew Theaters for Griffith Company. Dutifully, Buddy spent the rest of 1947 and all of 1948 gaining considerable experience in masonry. Unfortunately he also suffered from a chronic back issue brought on by the heavy lifting required in bricklaying.

In the spring semester of 1949, young Ralph, having saved money, entered the University of Oklahoma, enrolling in the Bachelor of Architecture program—a logical if not predictable choice for an artistic student with valuable experience in basic construction techniques. He continued to work for his father on weekends and summers and carried a lighter load of semester hours than normal, which resulted in finishing his degree in five and a half years rather than the normal five required for the degree. The first faculty member he met as he entered the program was the noted Dean of the School of Architecture Bruce Goff, with whom Ralph took numerous courses. Goff and the other teachers early recognized his potential. One of the professors once asked Ralph’s mother: “Do you know how smart he is”? When he graduated in June 1954, the Architecture faculty awarded him the American Institute of Architects annual medal for the outstanding graduating senior.

Ralph’s Life after Graduation

Within weeks after receiving his degree Ralph hired on with a small firm in Shawnee, but was there for only a few months because he was drafted into the army in March 1955. His father tried to intercede with the peacetime draft officials, describing the back injuries Ralph had suffered, but officials explained he would likely receive an office assignment. Indeed, he served most of his two-year obligation in the commander’s office at Fort Hood, Texas, after he underwent training as a clerk typist. Even with these lighter duties, Ralph re injured his back while lifting heavy mail bags and spent extended weeks in the post hospital. Years later when asked about his service, he would emphasize that he spent “two years, to the day” in the army—apparently relieved to return to civilian life.

Upon arrival back in Oklahoma City, Ralph moved in with his parents in his mother’s prized home. Even before he had graduated from college, that house had actually been moved because of the four-lane expansion of Route 66 at the original site. His father negotiated a settlement on the eminent domain case, allowing him to dismantle the stone exterior of the structure and move the rocks and the two-story frame. He relocated about twelve miles to the northeast along a newly built segment or Route 66, The site was north of Britton Road on the west side of the highway (current Interstate 35). The house and the rock work was reassembled at the new location, along with the Kirkhuff’s Antique shop as an attachment. The structures still stand today.

Ralph soon sought work after arriving back home. Fortunately, he learned that Coston, Frankfurt, and Short had just landed a long-term project at the American Airlines facility in Tulsa. This new work of the firm was part of an ongoing expansion of the company with major, lucrative contracts for airplane/airport facilities, office buildings, factories, and hospitals. Initially told he would be assured of two years of work due to the American Airlines job, Ralph would spend the next thirty years on no fewer than forty-two projects. Below are a few, select examples of his role in the company:

DATE / PROJECT / ROLE (PA = Project Architect/ PD = Project Director)

1957 / Tinker AFB Hospital, OKC / Draftsman
1957 / Amer. Airlines Maintenance Shop, Tulsa / PA
1959 / OU Medical Research Lab, OKC / PA
1961-62 / Ft. Leonard Wood (MO) Hospital / PA
1968 / American Trailers Mfg., OKC / PA, PD
1967-72 / OU Basic Science Bldg., OKC / PA, PD
1970 / Hertz Data Center, OKC / PA, PD
1970-72 / Westinghouse Plant, Norman / PA, PD
1975 / Baptist Hospital Burn Center, OKC / PA, PD
1977-79 / Tinker AFB Commissary, OKC / PA, PD
1982 / Peterson AFB Hangar, Colorado / PA
1983-86 / OSU Noble Research Center, Stillwater / PA, PD

During his thirty years with the firm (which eventually became “Frankfurt, Short, and Bruza”), Ralph played the vital role of assuring quality and accuracy of outcome. Architectural firms employ some professionals to create the designs—often the “rock stars” of the field. Also, necessary in the mix are the marketers, people with a talent for public speaking and personal interaction with clients. Also, someone needs to manage the office and the functioning of the company as a whole. Due to his taciturn approach and his preference to draft rather than talk, Ralph had no knack for any of those roles. Instead, he was the steady, solid reviewer of designs and overseer of technical details, often leading other less-experienced colleagues through the process. One young architect, new to the firm, once presented Ralph with an imaginative and creative design. It featured the usual vertical exterior brick surface of a building that ran from the upper level of the wall down to a curving inward soffit or overhang. Normally a brick wall extends downward toward ground level but then breaks to create a separate soffit or overhang before continuing to the ground. Ralph took one look at that element with its inward bending brick wall and said succinctly, “Bricks were not meant to do that.” He then proceeded to figure out a way to use metal rods and other means to approximate what the young designer had envisioned. After experiencing Ralph’s expertise, those colleagues came quickly to admire his steady, sage advice.

Over the first years of his career he continued to live at home, especially after his father passed away within a year (March 1958) of Ralph’s return. His mother would otherwise have been the only occupant on the side of busy Route 66 in a relatively isolated neighborhood. She continued to operate her attached antique store there until she sold the place in 1974 and moved into a smaller home on Northwest 54th Street near the Belle Isle Library. Ralph then moved into an apartment, but after his mother’s passing in 1976, he acquired her smaller home and lived there for about five years. In the meantime, he began attending the All Souls’ Episcopal Church on 63rd and Pennsylvania in Nichols Hills and joined a singles’ group.

Although Ralph had come close to marriage at least once after his permanent employment, he now focused intently to find a relationship. He soon met at the church Mary Lou Stewart Weir, a widow, whose husband William J. Weir died a few years earlier due to a car accident. By the latter part of 1980, Ralph and Mary Lou were seriously dating, traveling, and visiting with her daughter Margi (Mary Margaret), who was married and living in New Mexico. Mary Lou and Ralph found much in common—especially their fondness for travel and their devotion to OU sports. They were married at All Souls’ Church on October 16, 1981. After the honeymoon, they moved into Mary Lou’s home on Dorchester Place in Nichols Hills.

For the next six years Ralph continued to work at Frankfurt, Short, and Bruza, thereby limiting some of the couple’s more ambitious travel plans. They journeyed frequently to OU sports contests both locally and afar with such enthusiasm that Ralph’s friends teased him, saying he obviously had married Mary Lou for her courtside tickets at Lloyd Noble Arena. After Ralph retired in 1987, their other travels expanded to Asia, Latin America, and Europe, while also touring various national parks and other attractions in America. They also visited Margi and other relatives on Ralph’s side of the family.

As happens to us all, the physical vicissitudes of aging began arriving. Ralph and Mary Lou supported each other through all of these trying episodes—joint replacements, heart pace makers, and oversight of prescription drugs. These usual difficulties did not interfere with their busy and deep life as volunteers for the local voting precinct work, for Mobile Meals deliveries, and for various church ministries. One year All Souls’ made special recognition of Ralph and Mary Lou for their dedicated service to the church family. They gave back tremendously to their community while also enjoying their travel and entertainment.

On May 25, 2016, after months of failing health, Mary Lou passed away. Ralph remained determined to stay in the home as long as possible, relying on friends and the handful of relatives who lived nearby. Brenda Owens, a housekeeper who served Mary Lou and Ralph for twenty years continued to make sure the house was cleaned, dishes washed, clothes laundered, food restocked, and Ralph encouraged. Her bond of friendship went well beyond an employee, and Ralph loved Wednesdays because he knew his companion Brenda would appear. On Monday nights a cluster of faithful friends took Ralph out for food and fellowship. Once a month the members of the Blue Chips Investment Club depended on Ralph to attend and give his wise advice—a role he played for an astounding fifty years. For a good portion of that time Ralph served as treasurer of the group as he kept meticulous track of the stocks and other investments. As with the architectural firm, the Blue Chippers depended on Ralph’s superb attention to detail. Mobile Meals volunteers helped Ralph to stay healthy and to assure his independence in the home as they returned the favor of Ralph and Mary Lou’s service to the organization. Step daughter Margi Weir, a professional artist, called almost daily from Detroit, Michigan, where she taught at Wayne State University, making sure Ralph remained safe and connected. Kip and Beverly Kirkhuff, Ralph’s nephew and his wife, assisted when needed, especially when he fell in the garage at one point. My wife, Diane Brown (Ralph’s niece) and I began visiting him weekly for a meal at Johnnies Charcoal Broiler, Hideaway Pizza, Earl’s Rib Palace, or other venues. Some of Mary Lou’s relatives and others gathered with him at Ray’s Café for meals numerous times. As physical ailments increased, Diane and I drove him to dentist, doctor, and heart hospital appointments, often stopping by Jimmy’s Egg for some breakfast. We chuckled when we entered some of the eating places and some of the staff would see him and greet with a shout of “Mr. Ralph,” reminding us of the shout of “Norm” on the TV sit-com “Cheers.”

Increasing frailty and forgetfulness necessitated Ralph’s entrance into Epworth Villa’s assisted living area, followed by a transfer to the skilled nursing section. The Covid-19 pandemic robbed all of us friends and family members of in-person conversation and visitation with Ralph, but we talked on the phone, used FaceTime, and drove up for car window visits when allowed. After about six months in the professional and loving care of the staff at Epworth Villa, Ralph succumbed to heart failure on October 1, 2020. We were not surprised when the staff commented about how considerate and pleasant Ralph had been when living there. We remember Ralph with deep fondness for his good humor, wit, intelligence, and hard work. We especially recall the love that he and Mary Lou shared.

EULOGY presented during memorial service on October 17, 2020, at All Souls' Episcopal Church, Nichols Hills, OK

Good afternoon. I’m Kenny Brown. My wife Diane Brown is Ralph’s niece. Because I’m an historian by profession I volunteered for this eulogy for our beloved Ralph, or “Uncle Bud,” as Diane always knew him.

Last night I placed a more detailed biography of Ralph, on the Hahn, Cook, Street & Draper website. I hope you take a look at it. Also, I encourage everyone to go to that site and add your memories and favorite “Ralph” stories as well.

My overarching observation about Ralph is that he exemplified the type of life essential to the thriving of a community, but with a unassuming modesty that caused him to be overlooked, underappreciated, and underestimated—until you got to know him well.

The word “taciturn” comes to mind when I think of Ralph—he was a man of few words. You would ask him a question or pose an issue before him, and he would pause in contemplation and deliver a succinct, appropriate answer. Ralph’s mother and other family members noticed this trait early in his life. The family was actually somewhat concerned because Ralph had never spoken in a complete sentences—well beyond the development of most children. One morning at their home, his mother had stood him on the bed and got him dressed for a street car trip to downtown OKC for shopping. As she finished dressing him, she said: “There you are, now we’re ready to go.” Ralph noticed a flaw in her statement, and responded: “Well, put YOUR shoes on, crazy.” His first complete sentence.

Ralph’s family was large—he had 7 siblings. His mother and father had grown up near Geary in western Oklahoma and moved to Oklahoma City in the early 1920s, where his father became a highly skilled bricklayer and stone mason in high demand.

Ralph was born in 1929, the next to last child in the family. Because his father also was named Ralph, the son was assigned the nickname “Buddy,” or “Bud,” which is why my wife always calls him Uncle Bud even today. Buddy attended school at Lincoln Elementary, Taft Junior High, and Classen High School, excelling in art classes all along the way. He always said his older brothers were the real artists, one of whom became a commercial artist by profession.

Ralph learned the skills of masonry while in high school working for his father, and after graduation joined his dad’s bricklaying crew fulltime for a year and a half. His father wanted him to have a proven, marketable skill.

All eight of the Kirkhuff kids got degrees from OU—Ralph’s came in 1954 in architecture during the Bruce Goff era, earning the American Institute of Architects medal for outstanding graduate.

After a short stint in the army, Ralph went to work for the firm Coston, Frankfurt, and Short—which eventually became Frankfurt, Short, and Bruza. Ralph worked 30 years for the firm. Rather than flamboyant designing, extroverted marketing, or management of the company, Ralph’s role was that of redrafting, correcting, and assuring quality of the buildings. He would analyze carefully, make an assessment and succinctly conclude what needed to be done.

My wife’s brother Randy Kreie also became an architect and has several friends from his generation who worked with Ralph. They expressed their appreciation of Ralph’s expertise and wisdom. One of these young architects created a fanciful, fantastic design of a surface of curving bricks on the side of a building. Ralph took one look at the drawing and replied tersely: “Bricks weren’t meant to do that.” Ralph then proceeded to devise a way—using steel rods to make the unusual design a reality.

In his 50s Ralph began focusing more on his personal life with the goal of finding a wife. He joined a singles’ group here at All Souls’. He met an energetic widow, Mary Lou Stewart Weir, soon fell in love with her, and married her in October 1981.

Their friends here at All Souls’ know well their joint dedication to service and spirit of volunteerism demonstrated during their 35 years of marriage—ministering here at church in a number of ways, delivering for Mobile Meals, and working during elections at their local precinct. And boy did they travel—throughout the world and to about every OU sporting event imaginable. Ralph’s friends once teasingly accused him of marrying Mary Lou for the near courtside tickets at Lloyd Noble Arena.

Back in 2007, my wife and I agreed to be successor trustee to Uncle Bud’s trust. After Mary Lou passed away in 2016, we began focusing more on our responsibilities as future trustees. Also, some of Ralph and Mary Lou’s friends worried about his well-being due to his potential loneliness and declining health. At first we began taking him out to eat every week, and with increasing frequency to various doctor’s appointments.

We developed a treasured collection of “Uncle Bud” stories for our future memories of his intelligence, wit, and gentle spirit. For example, as we drove through the neighborhoods of The Village on the way to eat at Johnnies Charcoal Broiler on Britton Road, he taught us a bit about bricklaying. He pointed out that the last, top layer or “course” of brick on the side of houses usually is laid out in a “soldier” course—with the bricks standing vertically like soldiers in line. His father believed that design to be an inferior and lazy way to finish brick walls. We, therefore, could tell which brick laying jobs Ralph or his father’s crew had completed because they had worked extensively in The Village.

We also experienced Ralph’s succinct, terse wit. Diane and I had run into a small glitch at the pharmacy when we took his driver’s license to pick up prescriptions for him. His driver’s license listed his birthdate as June 7th, 1929, while all other documentation gave the date as June 6th,1929. We later asked him if he had ever run into problems during his many world travels with a passport and a driver’s license at odds with each other. He replied: I was detained in Istanbul once. Imagining his run in with a dreaded Turkish prison, our mouths fell agape. We heard a chuckle and realized we had been had. We then asked, “Did you every have trouble overseas?” He replied, “I’m here, aren’t I”?

Diane and I were not the only ones to aided Ralph in his last four years.

Brenda Owens, his housekeeper, who is with us today and who served Mary Lou and Ralph for twenty years, continued to make sure the house was cleaned, dishes washed, clothes laundered, food restocked, and Ralph encouraged. Ralph loved Wednesdays because he knew his companion Brenda would appear.

On Monday nights a cluster of faithful friends took Ralph out for food and fellowship.

Once a month the members of the Blue Chips Investment Club depended on Ralph to attend and give his wise advice—a role he played for an astounding fifty years.

Mobile Meals volunteers helped Ralph to stay healthy and to assure his independence in the home as they returned the favor of Ralph and Mary Lou’s service to the organization.

Step daughter Margi Weir, a professional artist, called almost daily from Detroit, Michigan.

Kip and Beverly Kirkhuff, Ralph’s nephew and his wife, assisted when needed.

Some of Mary Lou’s relatives and others gathered frequently with him at Ray’s Café for meals.

Eventually, Ralph’s increasing frailty and forgetfulness necessitated his entrance into Epworth Villa’s assisted living area, followed by a transfer to the skilled nursing section. After about six months in the professional and loving care of the staff at Epworth Villa, Ralph succumbed to heart failure on October 1, 2020.

We were not surprised when the staff commented about how considerate and pleasant Ralph had been when living there.

Diane and I are fortunate to have so many “Uncle Bud” stories in our memory bank. Every time we drive through The Village, we hunt for homes without solder courses. Every time we eat at Jimmie’s Egg we recall how the staff him with a “Hello, Mr. Ralph,” as he entered the café.

My favorite is this one: When Diane and I return to our garage after taking our daily walk, she will sometimes forget to change out of her walking shoes. I get to say: “Well, put your other shoes on, crazy,” and remember Ralph.

Please post your on memories and stories on the Hahn Cook website.

Learn more about the Kirkhuff name

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