Ralph J. Johnson, 76, a lifelong resident of Ephrata, Washington, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee, Washington.
He was born on June 4, 1936 in Ephrata, Wash. to Roy and Emma (Schuh) Johnson. Ralph graduated from Ephrata High School in 1954 and went to work on a road construction crew in Spokane, Wash. In 1957 he enrolled in Central Washington University at Ellensburg, Wash. and would go to school during the day and work the swing shift at Priest Rapids Dam. He graduated from CWU in 1960 with a BA in Education.
Following graduation he went to work for the Department of Labor and Industries as the District Manager in Ephrata. Later that year he married Marie Romero. The following year they purchased their first home and 17 acres in Grant Orchards. In 1967 their son, Brian was born. A few years later he and Marie divorced and in 1977 Ralph married Barbara Flint who had two children from a previous marriage, Roger Flint and Julie (Flint) Bryan.
He was later promoted to regional manager for L & I over the Yakima region and maintained that position for the remainder of his career, retiring in 1992 after 32yrs.
Ralph was a member of the Ephrata Athletic Club, Kiwanis, Ephrata Rotary, Yakima and Kennewick Chamber of Commerce, Ephrata Elks; served 16 years on the McKay Hospital Board and currently served on the McKay Foundation; an Ephrata School Board member; and worked after retirement as a safety consultant for several different companies until finally retiring for good in 2005. During those years he also continued to farm his 52 acres and raise everything from alfalfa to chickens and cattle and almost everything in between. And with each new venture came a new set of experiences and a new set of endless stories that will live in our hearts forever.
Ralph was an extraordinary husband, father, stepfather, father-in-law, grandfather, foster father, brother, uncle, nephew, friend and so much more. He has given all of us a life full of lessons and a lifetimes' worth of stories and experiences that we will never forget. He is going to be missed by many for many years to come.
He is survived by his son, Brian and wife, Susie Johnson of Ephrata; stepson, Roger and wife, Patricia Flint of Spokane; stepdaughter, Julie (Flint) Bryan of Victor Wyoming; grandchildren, Camden and Dalton Johnson of Ephrata and Michael and Ashley Flint of Spokane; his sister, Margaret (Johnson) and husband, Rex Lawyer of Pasco; nephew, Rick and wife, Darla Grubb of Soap Lake, Wash.; and special cousin, Linda (Johnson) and husband, Fred Hurst of East Wenatchee, Wash. He was preceded in death by his dear wife, Barbara Johnson; father, Roy Johnson; mother, Emma Johnson; sisters, Elsie Maxey and Joann Grubb; and stepfather, Edwin Carlson.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 29, 2012, 11 a.m., at the Ephrata City Cemetery with a celebration of life to follow at the Nat Washington House, 42 C St. N.W. in Ephrata. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to the Class of 1954 scholarship fund, handled by the Columbia Basin Foundation in Ephrata.