Ralph Vallem Lee was born on a farm southwest of Garden City Aug. 13, 1925, and lived on his family farm until he retired in October 1988, when he moved to Garden City. He was one of 10 children born to Alfred C. and Emma Vallem Lee. He peacefully entered his eternal home on Aug. 5, 2014, while at Mercy Hospice in Johnston.
Ralph was baptized and confirmed in the Zion Lutheran Church in rural Radcliffe, where he was a lifelong member. He attended grade school at Concord #9 and graduated from Radcliffe High School in 1942. He served in the U.S. Navy from Nov. 8, 1943, until May 3, 1946 as a Radioman. He went to Boot Camp at Farragut, Idaho, and took his radio training at the University of Idaho at Moscow and at Bainbridge Island on Puget Sound, Wash. Ralph was stationed on the Hawaiian and Guam Islands. On June 30, 1946, Ralph was united in marriage to Eleanor Engelson at Stavanger Lutheran Church in Garden City by Rev. P. L. Mork. Two daughters were born to this union. Ralph belonged to the American Legion Post #317 in Radcliffe, was a deacon of his church, served on the A.S.C Township Board for 10 years and also two terms on the Farmer’s Coop Elevator Board. In 2008, Ralph moved to Courtyard Estates, an assisted living facility in Bondurant. Because of health needs, he had resided at the Urbandale Health Care Center for the past two years. Wherever he resided, Ralph loved being with his family, attending their athletic functions, playing games with them, and instilling many wonderful values in his children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren.
Ralph is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law, Jeanne and Renny Eller of Urbandale and Debbie and Donn Eide of Newton; grandchildren, Renee (Eller) and Matt Carver of Urbandale, Jill (Eller) and Kevin Vander Zwaag of Johnston, Emily (Eller) and Todd Vander Waal of Pella, Lisa (Eller) and Jonathan Hardersen of Urbandale, Desiree (Eide) and Jesse Lee of Kansas City, Mo., Dustin and Michelle Eide of North Liberty and Darin and Meghann Eide of Newton; 23 great-grandchildren; sister and brother-in-law Margaret and Carroll Ellwood of Radcliffe; sister Marilyn Engelson of Radclilffe; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Duane and Glenna Engelson of Dolan Springs, Ariz.; and many nieces, nephews and beloved friends.
Ralph was preceded in death by his wife, Eleanor; parents Alfred and Emma Lee; father-in-law and mother-in-law Elmer and Thea Engelson; brothers and sisters-in-law Franklin and Selma Lee, Obed Lee, Al and Ruby Lee, James and Esther Lee, Charles, Ellwood and David Lee; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Myrle and Norma Gene Engelson; niece Jolene (Engelson) Taylor; and nephew Larry Lee.
Ralph, a kind and loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, will be greatly missed by all who were blessed to know him in this earthly life.