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Friday, December 15, 2017

Ralph C. Williamson Jr.

On the morning of Friday, September 29, 2017, in Helena, Ralph Clifton Williamson Jr., age 81, peacefully went home to the Lord. 

Ralph was born on February 26, 1936 in Seville, Ohio to Ruth (Buckholtz) and Ralph C. Williamson Sr. He was the oldest of their family, of three sons. 

The family moved to Glendive when Ralph was a young boy. He attended school there and graduated from Dawson County High School in 1954. He then enlisted in the United States Air Force. After three years of active duty, he transferred to the Air Force Reserve, where he served until his honorable discharge in 1961. During this time Ralph acquired his “Willie” tattoo on his forearm.

On December 27, 1959, Ralph married a pretty nursing student, named Marlene Trangmoe in Glendive. They enjoyed nearly fifty-eight years of marriage. Throughout their years together Ralph often gifted Marlene with Chantilly perfume, the scent she was wearing when they first met. The young couple were blessed with three sons: Curtis R., Timothy J. and Paul A.

After Marlene obtained her R.N. degree, Ralph continued his education and training. He received his B. of S. degree from Northern Montana College in Havre, where he graduated with honors in 1974. He studied Vocational Technical Education, with a Trade and Technician Major. For four years he taught at Helena Vocational Tech Center where he was instructor of Aircraft General and Airframe Systems and Components. He then taught welding at Capital High School, in Helena for 18 years until his retirement. For many years they lived in the Gruber Estates in Clancy, Mont. while their sons were growing up. Throughout his life Ralph enjoyed golf, cross-word puzzles, computer technology, genealogy research and cooking. His chicken fried steaks were legendary. After retirement he and Marlene traveled extensively throughout the U.S. in their motor home, becoming snowbirds for a few years. 

After moving to Helena from Glendive the family became members of Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church. Ralph was a church council member and served three years as Evangelism Committee Chairman. He was a member of Gideon’s International from 1992 to the present.  He also served as Church Assignment Secretary and Camp Secretary. Whenever Ralph encountered people who were down on their luck and asking for a bit of money, he gave them a small New Testament Bible with some cash tucked inside. He kept a small supply of these in his vehicle ready to go.

Ralph was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Carl; and Carl’s wife, Bobby.

Ralph is survived by his wife, Marlene, at the family home in Helena; and his three sons, Curtis (Michaelene) in Missoula, Tim (Connie) in Helena and Paul in Clancy. Also surviving Ralph is his brother, Jim (Linda) of Missoula; seven grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and numerous in-laws, nieces and nephews. Other survivors include his many friends and extended family. When their children were young, Ralph and Marlene opened their hearts and home to foster children.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, 3580 Benton Ave., Helena. A reception will immediately follow the service in the fellowship hall of the church. A private graveside service will take place later in the day at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison. In lieu of flowers the family suggest donations be sent in Ralph’s name to The Helena Gideons, PO Box #627, Helena, MT 59624. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Ralph.

Ralph’s family would like to give a special thank you to Cooney Convalescent Home for his care, these last few months. Many thanks to Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home for the support, information and help in making the final arrangements for Ralph. We wish to thank the special people at Our  Redeemer’s Lutheran Church for their support and hosting the reception following the service at the church. The Williamson family would like to express their appreciation to the many friends, neighbors and relatives who so kindly provided food, sympathy, prayers and support during this difficult time. We appreciate each and every one of you. 

And as Ralph would say: “Peace be with you and also with you.”        

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