James R. Ralph passed away on Sunday, July 30, 2017 at Mid Michigan Medical Center Midland. Age 84 years. James was born on July 23, 1933 in Duluth, Minnesota to the late Edward and Fern (Decker) Ralph. James attended church at Grace Lutheran Church in Auburn, Michigan where he was an elder for 17 years. James graduated from T.L. Handy High School in 1951. James worked as a school teacher for 34 years and was an amazing coach of football, baseball and basketball for 50 years. He was inducted in both the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches and Bay County Sport Halls of Fame for all of his achievements. Also, he was granted the assistant high school football coach of the year award by the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association in 1991. Mr. Ralph scored the first touchdown on the T.L. Handy football field.
James R. Ralph was an avid outdoorsman and was an excellent angler. Mr. Ralph is survived by his five children, Susan (Lance Killborn) Ralph, Jane Ralph, Raymond (Sherry) Ralph, Rebecca (Charles) Stinson and Ruth (Randy Roy) Tuma; nine grandchildren, Jacob, Levi, Casey, Courtney, Rochelle, Justine, Colton, Rayferd and Charlie; six great grandchildren, Jazmine, Ava, Oviana, Brooklyn, Saniyah and Bo; three sisters, Mary Lou Goss, Carol Lukowski and Kathy Pembroke; many nieces and nephews and special friends, especially Jane Fowler. In addition to his parents James was also preceded in death by his first wife, Kathleen; second wife, Mary Alice; grandson Joseph Robert Ralph; great granddaughter Brooklynne Ralph; brother Edward Ralph. Funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at Grace Lutheran Church, 303 Ruth Street, Auburn, Michigan with Pastor Aaron T. Schian officiating. Committal will take place in Heavenly Rest Cemetery, Kawkawlin following the service. Friends may call at the Gephart Funeral Home, Inc. on Monday, August 7, 2017 from 2:00 till 8:00 p.m. Mr. Ralph will lie in state at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service Tuesday at the church. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to make a memorial contribution to the Western Michigan University W Club.