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Ralph's Story

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Ralph Walter Reddersdorf, 80, Kokomo, died Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, surrounded by his family. He was born in Dundee, Illinois on July 21, 1937, to Walter and Helen (Steinwart) Reddersdorf. On June 23, 1973, in Crown Point, he married Ruth A. Weber.
Ralph graduated from Valparaiso University in 1959. He worked at JCPenney for 37 years, holding various store management positions in Wisconsin, New York, Illinois and Indiana. In retirement, he continued to share his vast business knowledge with Service Corps of Retired Executives (S.C.O.R.E.), St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store and the Howard County Assessor's office.
He was equally active in the community. Through the years, he was a member of the Lions Club, Goodfellows and served as president of the Devon Woods Neighborhood Association. Additionally, he was a member of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church for more than 30 years, where he was a Eucharistic Minister, Finance Council member, volunteer with the SJA tutoring ministry, Haiti Ministry and Migrant Ministry. In everything he did, Ralph made a friend of everyone around him. A stranger was just someone he hadn't met yet. It was often joked that, "He could talk to a fence post and it would answer."
In his free time, he enjoyed traveling, golfing, reading, chocolate malts, dessert for breakfast, crossword puzzles and cheering on the Green Bay Packers and Purdue Boilermakers. His greatest joy, though, was his family. He loved attending his grandsons' church, school, sports and theatre activities where ice cream runs to Dairy Queen were regularly scheduled events.
Ralph was a beloved husband, father, Pawpaw, friend and mentor and will be deeply missed. Because of him, we know the importance of devotion to family, furthering your education, financial responsibility, working hard and seeking Christ in everything you do.
He is survived by Ruth, his wife of 44 years; his children, Ruth (Bud) Kane, Mark (Annie) Reddersdorf, Heidi (Tom) Heldt and Gretchen (James) Harter; nine grandchildren, Sam, Jack, and Will Heldt, Eli, Charlie, and Henry Harter, Scott and Todd Firmstone and Amy Hager; siblings, Dave (Pat) Reddersdorf and Beth (John) Bloechle; as well as brothers and sisters-in-law, and many nieces and nephews and great nieces and great nephews who adored their uncle Ralph.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 3155 S. 200 West, with Rev. Fr. Matthew Arbuckle and Rev. Fr. Michael McKinley the celebrants. Burial will follow in Albright Cemetery. A celebration of life reception will follow the burial at Bel Air Events, 3014 S. Webster St.
Friends may visit with the family from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Shirley & Stout Funeral Home & Crematory, 1315 W. Lincoln Road, where the Rosary will be offered at 7:30 p.m. Friends may visit one hour prior to the Mass at the Church on Wednesday.
In lieu of flowers, please share your love for Ralph by donating to St. Joan of Arc's Haiti Ministry. Gifts can be mailed to St. Joan of Arc at 3155 S. County Road 200 West, Kokomo, IN 46902. Messages of condolence may be left at www.shirleyandstout.com.
Published on September 10, 2017
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