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Ralph Zaruba passed away on January 7th, 2006 after 97 years of life. He is survived by his wife Agnes (Overland Park, KS) and three children Bobby (Overland Park, KS) and Theresa (Lake Charles, IL) and Ken (Addison, IL). Ralph?s parents came to the United States from Bohemia in the Czech Republic. His father, a European educated winemaker, worked for Korbel Champagne and later as an electrician. Ralph?s two older brothers Charlie a Naval radio operator and Joe lived together with the family in Chicago. Charlie later relocated to Houston, TX where his daughter Charlene Knauf and family now live.
Ralph was born on August 28th 1908 in Chicago, IL where he resided most of his life. The harsh experience of living through the great depression shaped many of his views making him very frugal, establishing his abhorrence for waste and never taking anything for granted. President Franklin Roosevelt made a lasting impression on him and he often talked about him saving the country. Ralph worked as an industrial electrician in the railroad industry for many years with Electromotive, Santa Fe and Burlington Northern. Later in his career, as an independent electrician, he worked to design the first automated frozen pizza machines.
In 1969 Ralph retired to Bradenton, FL with his wife Agnes and son Bobby. Ralph loved the warm weather and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. He received his ham radio license (KC4PFF) in his 80?s. He enjoyed eating fish (not so much catching them), drinking beer and wine, watching sports, fixing and constructing electrical systems and discussing politics. Ralph could build or fix just about anything. He was often seen riding his bicycle throughout the neighborhood and visiting with neighbors. He and Agnes helped many family members in the later stages of their lives by shuttling them around town and assisting with their needs.
Ralph?s life long learning?s have been passed on to his children, his spirit living within them, guiding them and their families to long, prosperous and happy lives.
Ralph lived a full life and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
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