April 3, 1930 - - March 5, 2013
Ralph Wackerbarth ascended peacefully into heaven on March 5, 2013. He left us from the place he loved the most - his beloved and cherished home along the Deschutes River in Bend, OR, at the age of 82. He passed quickly from a heart attack with no warning and little pain.
Ralph was born on a kitchen table in Florence, OR. And, this obviously bore his love and passion of both good eating and Oregon. He was the son of a Presbyterian minister and lived up to the reputation of getting into mischief during his early years - as you do as a minister's son. He graduated from Salem High School with varsity letters in Basketball and Track. He went on to attend the University of Oregon, where he embraced the spirit of the ”Fighting Ducks”, and never missed watching a Ducks game, especially those against USC. One not to let school get in the way of his education, he also joined the best fraternity - Sigma Chi.
After graduating from the University of Oregon, he joined the Navy as an officer. He became a Navy Aviator flying reconnaissance missions off the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier in the South China Sea. He loved his years in the Navy, but left because his young wife did not want to have a ”Navy Marriage” with extended absences.
After leaving the Navy, he moved to California to start the next chapter of his life - starting a family and a career. He excelled at each. He has two exceptional children - Jill Wackerbarth Kendall, who presently resides in Raleigh, NC with her husband Mike. Jill and Mike have two children - Peter (26) and Zoe (23). Ralph's son, Richard Scot, besides being a prolific writer lives in Newport Beach, CA, is a Partner at Deloitte & Touche. Richard has yet to raise a family, but is under some pressure to do so soon.
Ralph started his career as an Independent Insurance Agent in Stockton, CA. Looking for greater opportunities, he left for Orange County, CA, to join the insurance agency of Harrison, Zeppegno, and Bristol. He ultimately became an owner, and retired from the same company. He became active in the local business community and rose to the position of President in the Junior Chamber of Commerce. As a young, successful business man, divorced from his first wife, he was looking for love. He found not only love, and the love of his life, but a lot more when he meet his soon- to-be wife, Charliene Conkright-Dunn. The two had many similar interests and shared hopes for the future and married shortly thereafter. Ralph and Charliene had a full and exciting life together during their 44-year marriage, where they not only embraced each other but also an array of life's bounties and blessings.
After retiring, Ralph and Charliene moved to Bend, where they fell in love with its charm and its people. They purchased the Loggen house on the Deschutes River next to the walking bridge. Wishing to preserve a piece of Bend's history, they moved the Loggen house to its new location on Awbrey Road. In its place, they built a new home and started a new chapter in their lives - The Golden Years, living in Bend. Their life in Bend was centered around the community and its people. They gave generously to several of the local charities, and opened their home and their hearts. Their favorite charities where aligned with the community: The Shepherd's House; their love for animals through The Humane Society of Central Oregon; and their love for the country, through the St. Charles Foundation. Donations may be made in Ralph's honor to these local charities.
Ralph enjoyed being with friends in Bend and was active in the Picnic Club, the Model A Car Club, and the Central Oregon Symphony.
Memorial Services for Ralph are scheduled for Monday, March 11, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. at Grace First Lutheran Church, 2265 Shevlin Park Rd., Bend, OR 97701. He will be interred at Deschutes Memorial Chapel & Gardens, 63875 North Hwy 97, Bend, with full military honors.
Throughout Ralph's very full and enriched life, he touched many lives in ways that are far too innumerable to count. His selfless nature forever saw the grace and goodness in all people. He is loved by many and will be missed greatly. He now has new missions and purposes working with God to continue to help those of us left behind here on earth to continue in his legacy and tradition of doing good works.
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