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Ralph 'Bongo''s Story

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Ralph "Bongo" Lee Baer, 85, formerly of Kokomo, passed away at 3:45 a.m. on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, at Evergreen Retirement Community in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was born May 6, 1932, in Kokomo, to Charles B. and Wilma (Robinson) Baer. On Dec. 28, 1950, he married Jeannie A. Baer, at Grace Methodist Church in Kokomo, and she survives.
Ralph graduated from Kokomo High School in 1949 and was known for his athletic prowess and skill, especially on the football field where he earned the nickname "Bongo Baer." He went on to graduate from Indiana Business College and worked at Continental Steel for 31 years before retiring. Ralph served the City of Kokomo and Howard County as a public official for many years, spending 14 years as a member of the Kokomo Common Council, nine years on the Kokomo Plan Commission, and two years on the Kokomo Board of Public Works and Safety. He also served on the Kokomo Howard County Governmental Coordinating Council, the Howard County Solid Waste District board of directors, the Kokomo Housing Authority board of directors, the St. Joseph Hospital Advisory Board, the Community Howard Regional Foundation Board, and the YMCA Membership Board. He was a member of the Kokomo Country Club and Grace United Methodist Church. Ralph was a loving husband, father and grandfather and will be remembered for his big smile, sense of humor and caring heart.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughter, Melanie A. (Timothy) Pierce, Cincinnati; stepgranddaughters, Erin (Michael) Siragusa and Jackie (Ryan) Phillips, all of Cincinnati; stepgreat-grandsons, Grayson Kaylor, Colton Phillips and Quinn Siragusa, all of Cincinnati; sister-in-law, Donna Baer, Kokomo; nephew, Scott Baer, Kokomo; and niece, Suzanne (John) Johnson, Michigan.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Charles Baer; and niece, Becky Baer.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, June 23, 2017, at Grace United Methodist Church, 219 W. Mulberry St., with Pastor Larry Newburg officiating. Private entombment will take place in Kokomo Memorial Park Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made in Ralph's memory to Grace United Methodist Church or the YMCA. Shirley & Stout Funeral Homes & Crematory, Kokomo, have been entrusted with arrangements. Messages of condolence may be expressed online at www.shirleyandstout.com.
Published on June 9, 2017
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