Services to honor and remember the life of Ralph Franklin St. John will be 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016 in the Talala First Baptist Church where he was a longtime member. He will be laid to rest at Fairview Cemetery in Talala. Rice Funeral Service has been entrusted with Ralph's care. Friends may visit at the funeral home Friday evening from 6-8 with the St. John family there to receive guests. Ralph passed away Wednesday evening, Nov. 9, 2016 in a Tulsa hospital surrounded by his beloved family. He was 81.
Born on June 24, 1935 in Talala, Oklahoma, Ralph was one of Lewis and Minnie Mildred (Dudley) St. John's four children. He grew up and spent his youth in his birth community learning the rich lessons that can be best gleaned as the child of a hardworking farmer and rancher. Early on Ralph and his father had a unique partnership as they worked the land and cattle together-- a passion Ralph took into his adult years.
Ralph attended school in Talala. It seemed that he and Margie Helen Huber were always school mates and friends. As they became teens and Margie turned 16 this special friendship turned into a courtship that lasted just until Margie was able to celebrate her 18th birthday. The very first Saturday following that birthday celebration was March 5, 1955. That is the day they chose to marry. Their wedding ceremony was held at the Talala Baptist Church.
The young St. John couple made their first home in Talala. Ralph was truly a devoted husband to Margie and when the two became proud parents to their three children, the role of bread winner was taken quite seriously. Though they moved to Foyil in 1968 and resided there until 2000, their hearts remained in Talala. Ralph loved farming, so he leased some land and grew his crops. And because he wanted to lend a helping hand to his father, he'd stop every day to feed the cattle or partner in just about any other task that needed attention on the farm. A man with an extremely strong work ethic, Ralph also worked simultaneously as a machinist and in maintenance for Maloney and Crawford, a manufacturing company in Tulsa. He worked in this position for 42 years before retiring.
After Ralph's father, Lewis, passed away in 2000, it was time to return "home". These past 16 years have brought great joy to Ralph as he has worked alongside the next generation of St. Johns'. Daughter Nancy was lovingly called the foreman by her daddy, and yet she admiringly called him the boss because she learned everything she could from her very capable, patient and experienced teacher. Son "Hippy", more like a best friend to his daddy, often provided extra muscle and sometimes even offered added know how.
When health challenges caused Ralph to slow down, he never really retired from ranching. He may not have been able to sit atop his horse any longer, but he could move a cow along with his scooter. Then when even that became too much, he'd offer advice to his children and grandchildren about how he would do it if he could.
Ralph is best described by those who knew him as loving, patient, compassionate and very ornery. He had a nickname for everybody. And though some of the grandchildren may not have been fond of their special name, if Poppa said it then all was well.
When there was time to relax Ralph enjoyed wagon races, trail rides and dances - a pastime that he and Margie had enjoyed throughout their lives together. He also loved keeping an eye on those new baby calves. But it seems he liked nothing more than teasing his family, especially those treasured grandchildren.
Ralph passes on a rich Christian value system, a strong work ethic and an unbreakable family tie that will carry on in the hearts and lives of all who are his legacy. Family members who survive are his wife, Margie of their home in Talala; his children, Ric "Hippy" St. John and Leslie of Talala, Nancy Brown and Jeff of Oologah; his sister, Lena Downs and Carl of Big Cabin; eight grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, his son, Ralph, and his brothers, Toliver and Pete.
Published on November 12, 2016