Ralph Duane Eavenson (1937 - 2014)

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  • "Ralph was always a dear friend and counselor to me when I..."
    - Lindy Atoms
  • "It saddens me to learn of Ralph's passing. What a fine..."
    - Dave Richardson
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Ralph Duane Eavenson 8/2/1937-2/13/2014

Ralph Duane Eavenson died in Auburn, California on February 13, 2014 from prostate cancer. He was born August 2, 1937 to Frances Beryl Personette and James Eavenson in Parma, Idaho. He was the eldest of six children, James and Mary who survive him; Frances "Irene", David, and William, who predeceased him. After a hardscrabble childhood, laboring in agriculture fields, residing in 15 towns throughout the western states, Ralph joined the Air Force as an aircraft mechanic from 1954 to 1957 in Utah and Arizona, then the Idaho Air National Guard until 1959. He was an Air Force reservist until 1978 when he joined the US Coast Guard Reserve. He served 20 years, stationed throughout the U.S., retiring Lieutenant Commander, after travels to South Korea, the Aleutians and Russia. Ralph attended Boise State University and University of Nevada, Reno, graduating 1964, after hitchhiking and motorcycling through Europe and North Africa. He earned his MFA from University of Iowa Writer's Workshop in 1970, and attended summer fellowships at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and University of Chicago in the 1970s. He taught English, creative writing and sailing at Sierra College in Rocklin from 1970 to 2001, and was union representative for the faculty. When on sabbatical he attended Chiang Mai University in Thailand where he lived and traveled with Buddhist monks. In 1986 he earned his law degree from University of Iowa, including studies in France. He worked as a lawyer with the Coast Guard for several summers in Alaska. He was a consummate single-handed sailor and navigator, raced and cruised locally and worldwide. He was a dedicated reader, with a special interest in literature of the American West, a keen diarist, fan of music, and rescuer of dogs. He is survived by Laurie, his wife of 30 years; four children, Dawn, Luci, John and Steve of Idaho, from his first marriage to Norma Hurley; two stepdaughters, Elisabeth and Katherine, from his marriage to Katherine Knapland, who predeceased him; seven grandchildren; and great grandchildren. Please honor Ralph with your support of cancer research. A memorial and reception at Sisters of Mercy Retreat in Auburn will be held on May 10, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Published in Gold Country Media Newspapers on Apr. 20, 2014
bullet Coast Guard bullet U.S. Air Force bullet University of Iowa