Life Story Visitation
Life Story Service
Saturday, June 19, 2021
11:00 AM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Paw Paw Location
60900 Michigan 40
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Burial will follow at Spring Grove Cemetery, Bloomingdale.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
42039 CR 390
Bloomingdale, MI 49026
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a warm smile and a generous heart, Ralph Ewert lived a faith-centered life rich in family and friends. Having accepted Christ when he joined the Navy, Ralph’s life goal was to make sure his family reunited in Heaven, which proved the firm foundation upon which Ralph consciously built his marriage and family life. Embodying the principles of his faith, Ralph freely gave of his time and talents in service of others, proving a powerful role model and inspiration for all who were blessed to know him. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Ralph will long be remembered and ever so missed.
The 1920s were marked by tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts. The economy boomed, wages rose for most Americans, and prices fell, resulting in a higher standard of living for most. With the inventions of the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, self-winding watch, bulldozer, the instant camera, drive-in restaurants, Band-Aids, and the convertible, the post-war era marked significant advancement, and morale flourished throughout the country. This vibrant time grew even more brilliant in Chicago, Illinois, as Robert and Julia (Pursell) Ewert welcomed their son Ralph into their hearts and home on March 29, 1927.
A graduate of Lane Tech High School, Ralph served his country in the U.S. Navy as a ship’s cook. Following his service, Ralph met the love of his life, Helen Van Horn, while at the local roller rink on North Lake in Gobles, Michigan. The young couple fell in love at first sight and from that moment remained inseparable. With their hearts set on spending the rest of their lives together, they married on June 17, 1950.
The newlyweds settled in Bloomingdale and soon welcomed three wonderful children to their family. Gary, Diane, and Linda quickly became the centers of Ralph and Helen’s world. While Helen dedicated herself to being a full-time mother, Ralph provided for his family by working as a printer for the Kalamazoo Gazette. For several decades Ralph operated a linotype machine, working with hot lead that casted characters as a complete line of text for the newspaper printing.
While their kids were young, Ralph and Helen enjoyed camping as a family. The first time they camped, Ralph borrowed his brother’s Army Surplus tent, which he’d never put together. After arriving at Interlochen, Ralph spent quite a bit of time trying to assemble the complicated tent, which the other campers found quite entertaining. The family soon purchased a camper. It didn’t take long before camping became one of the family’s favorite pastimes. Many of their trips included fishing for bluegill and panfish on local lakes. Nothing tasted better than freshly caught fish fried for dinner! The family also enjoyed a memorable trip out east that sparked lifelong loves of traveling for all.
A lifelong tinkerer, Ralph loved to tear things apart whether they needed fixing or not to learn how they worked. He enjoyed small engine repair, especially cars and lawnmowers, a skill set he learned while his kids were young to help stretch the family budget. A humble man who found joy in simple things like pop, cookies, and Helen’s homemade pies, Ralph also loved listening to Christian hymns. Though he never sang, he loved listening and had a CD player in every room. Ralph collected odds and ends, including washing machine belts, hearing aids, batteries, DVD’s and flashlights, thinking someone would someday need them. It didn’t matter so much that those needs were far and few between. He regularly watched war movies, especially those about WWII, and his favorite comedy was It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. As Ralph aged, he was known for always losing things, including his glasses, false teeth, and hearing aids. Several times he drove around town with his glasses sitting on the roof of his car. His granddaughter even had to dumpster dive once for his false teeth; he had wrapped them in a napkin and laid it on the sink, and someone unknowingly threw them out.
As his children grew into adulthood and began families of their own, Ralph welcomed his role as a grandfather with great pride. He loved his grandkids with all his heart and relished sharing the things he enjoyed with them. He taught several of them to ride their bicycles without training wheels along with the thrill of finding flea market treasures. He especially enjoyed doing things with them that their parents would not let them do, like jumping on the bed or climbing a ladder, adventuring into the attic, or showing them how things work in his workshop. Without a doubt, Ralph’s grandchildren were his heart’s delight, and he found great joy in sharing every moment he could with them.
Ralph and Helen continued to enjoy traveling, eventually spending winters in Florida. Their kids would drive them down to Lakeland, near the Detroit Tigers spring training camp, to ensure their safe arrival. Their trips to Florida centered around time with their retirement community playing shuffleboard, bingo, and dancing. In 2007, Ralph’s entire family enjoyed traveling to Riviera Maya, Mexico, with Helen’s extended family as well. In 2018, at the age of 91, Ralph had the good fortune of participating in the Talons Out Honor Flight, which transports America’s veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials dedicated to honoring those who have served and sacrificed for our country. Ralph made the trip with his son-in-law, Kim. While Kim was relegated to flying coach, Ralph sat in first class, where he shocked the flight attendants by standing as the plane took off.
One of the greatest gifts Ralph gave his family was the love he shared with Helen. For 70 years, they enjoyed one another’s good company and modeled everlasting love, respect, and honor. Sadly, Helen died in June of 2020. While he missed Helen greatly, in time, Ralph found comfort in the Christian hymns he’d so long enjoyed.
Clearly, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Ralph’s steadfast presence. May we find comfort in knowing he has reunited with his beloved and enjoying the rewards of a life well-lived. May we also find comfort in carrying his legacy of faith, love, and charity forward. For it is in this way that we will keep Ralph’s spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired each of us.
Ralph Ewert, of Bloomingdale, age 94, died peacefully on June 11, 2021. Ralph was preceded in death by his wife, Helen; siblings: Gladys Merica and Robert Ewert; a granddaughter, Sarah Correll; and step-grandson, Connor Brady. Surviving are his children: Gary (Madlena) Ewert, Diane (Donald) Correll, and Linda (Kim) Mandigo; grandchildren: Jennifer (Phil) Biron, Rhonda (Brian) Armstrong, Nichole (Jason) Brunner, Clay (Stephanie) Mandigo, Colin Mandigo, and Kylee Mandigo; step-grandchildren: Troy Sackett and Jessica Sackett; 8 great-grandchildren; 5 step-great-grandchildren; sister, Jean Bourner; sister-in-law, Mona Carlisle; brother-in-law, David (Barb) Van Horn and many nieces and nephews. Special thank you to Julie Bardocz, Shirley Pease, and Sue Krall for their wonderful care of dad.
A Life Story Service for friends and family will be held at 11 AM Saturday (June 19) at Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40 Hwy, Paw Paw (269) 657-3870, with visitation one hour prior. Burial at Spring Grove Cemetery. Visit Ralph’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you are encouraged to read his Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Christian Fellowship or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.