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Ralph Jaenicke

Obituary
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RALPH MONKS JAENICKE, 79 LA JOLLA, Calif. - Ralph Monks Jaenicke, 79, of La Jolla, California passed peacefully with his loving and devoted wife of 58 years, Gretchen Sieg Jaenicke at his side on December the 16th 2013. Ralphie, as he was known to those that loved him, was a man of great character. Born in Rockford Illinois in 1934 to his parents, Ralph Miller Jaenicke Senior and Helen Mae Monks Jaenicke. He was raised by a hard working Father and loving Mother in Rockford. He had many positive influences while growing up in the post-depression Midwest including his Uncle Kenny who doted on him, his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America and as a young man, a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He graduated from Rockford West High School and went on to attend Lawrence College in Appleton Wisconsin where he met the love of his life, Gretchen whom he married in Chicago Illinois in 1955. He went on to complete his degree at the University of Illinois in 1956. His love affair with Gretchen was to last 58 wonderful years that would begin in Champaign Urbana Illinois where their first Son, Ralph Duncan Jaenicke was born. His first job out of college was with Firestone Tire and Rubber and after a leave of absence for military service in the Air Force they were transferred to Columbia Missouri where their second son, Kris Arnold Jaenicke was born. A promotion took them to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1960 where he was responsible for two retail stores for Firestone and his third son Kurt Albert Jaenicke was born. In 1964 he went to work for US Rubber Company and was based in Scottsdale Arizona where he covered Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas. He would spend weeks driving to see his accounts and flying home on the weekends to drop dirty shirts and leave with clean ones and help raise his three young boys. In 1965 he returned to his hometown of Rockford to co-found with his Father, Jaenicke Distributing, a wholesale liquor company that represented Hiram Walker in Northern Illinois. He raised three boys to young men, participating in Scouting with each and sending them all to graduate from Big Ten Universities. Ralph was a pillar of the social community in Rockford as part of his business, and an outlet for his fun loving charismatic character. He and Gretchen belonged to Rockford Country Club, participated in Ostende (meaning welcome in Swedish) a formal dancing group that met monthly, was a member of the Rockford Masonic Lodge, was part of the Emanuel Episcopal Church Vestry as senior warden and worshiped God by singing in the St. Anskars Choir. He was known to be so proud of his sons that he had an external speaker added to his Oldsmobile station wagon that played the fight songs of his three sons' universities so when he would arrive for a college visit you could hear him coming a mile away. Ralph worked in Rockford until 1983 when he moved to San Diego to join in-laws Arnold and Grace Messenger Sieg and purchased Bethlehem Imports, a wholesale gift and jewelry company with Gretchen. They traveled together extensively to trade shows all over the United States making life-long friends on the road and again provided for his family by employing his oldest and youngest sons and Gretchen's Aunt Anne. They retired in 2001 and moved to La Jolla in 2003 becoming a 3rd generation occupant of their beloved Dowling Drive residence. Ralph enjoyed sharing life with all of those who he loved. He is survived by his wife, Gretchen; their faithful black Labrador, Sambo; son, Duncan (Nada); granddaughters, Bethany and Grace Jaenicke Peterson (Richard); great-granddaughter, Lilly Peterson of Charleston South Carolina; son, Kris (Ann) of Hudson Ohio; grandson, Nick Jaenicke and Fiancée Samantha Freitas of Austin Texas; grandson, Ben Jaenicke (Monica) of Washington D.C.; granddaughter, Katherine Jaenicke-Petersen (Grant); great-grandson, William Petersen of Decatur Georgia; son, Kurt (Pamela) of Carmel Indiana; granddaughter, Hannah Jaenicke; grandson, Nolan Jaenicke of Denver Colorado. Funeral Services will be at Saint James By the Sea Episcopal Church in La Jolla California on December the 30 at 2 p.m., with a reception following. In lieu of flowers donations to the Boy Scouts of America made in his name would honor the life he lived.
Published in Rockford Register Star from Dec. 27 to Dec. 28, 2013
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