Ralph Y. Celedon


Ralph Y. Celedon Obituary
There is heavy sadness on Earth but great joy in Heaven at the death of Ralph (Raúl) Ybarra Celedon. Ralph courageously and fiercely fought multiple myeloma for more than four years. His battle ended on October 26, 2014.
Ralph was born to Jesús and Guadalupe Celedón in Spofford, TX. He was the eighth of ten children, born to a loving, faithful, and hardworking family. He was raised in Bakersfield, graduated from Bakersfield High School in 1964, and attended Bakersfield College. He exhibited a quiet strength throughout his life and graced others with an unmatched sense of humor, wit, and candor. He developed a love for music at a very young age. His talents extended beyond one instrument; he was gifted in playing tenor and alto saxophone, electric bass, acoustic guitar, and harmonica. When just a teen, his talent was requested and showcased by several well-known local bands. He toured with Wanda Jackson in 1963 and played back up for world renowned rock and roll artists whose tours led them to Bakersfield. As a member of various bands, he traveled throughout regions of California, as well as the Southwestern states. Ralph was also adept at pocket billiards, chess, and card games; he was able to make a living by playing pool and taking musical gigs. It was during these exciting years that Ralph fell in love with Petra.
Ralph began working for the Santa Fe/BNSF Railway in 1966. His forty-year career as a freight conductor/ brakeman garnered numerous safety commendations, earned the respect of supervisors, and forged lifelong friendships with fellow Rails. After retirement and his multiple myeloma diagnosis, he continued to work at a private railway due to an unyielding work ethic and a love for trains.
He was a provider, encourager, and peacemaker. Ralph lived to serve others, often in humble deference and with silent strength. He exemplified how to balance dedication to work and family. He loved to spend time with Petra, and their devotion to one another was evident. He was a constant presence and avid supporter throughout his daughters' lives and their many activities; he celebrated their accomplishments and treated their friends as though they were family. He loved his sons-in-law and their extended families. His benevolent heart was displayed in the generosity he exhibited to all who knew him. Uncle Ralphy influenced and enriched the lives of his nieces and nephews by entertaining them with humor and freely giving of his time and resources. Ralph cherished his grandchildren and great-granddaughters; he proudly attended their academic, athletic, performing arts, and church events. He regularly attended First United Methodist Church and was grateful for the prayers and support of his church family. The legacy of Ralph's optimistic spirit, passion for life, and faith in Christ will live on in the hearts of many. He was indebted to blood donors in the last few years of his life. The incomparable staff at Samuel Oschin Cedars-Sinai Cancer Center treated Mr. Celedon with utmost respect and tender regard during his frequent visits over the past several years. He was thankful for every single day that he was able to spend with his wife and family. He is fondly remembered for his unwavering strength, selfless love, endearing bravery, and irresistible humor.
His memory lives on in the lives of his wife of 48 years, Petra Cadena Celedon; daughters, Patricia Ann Gonzales (Joe), Etta Rae Sharp, and Carla Raulane Wilson (Dana); grandchildren, Ja'Nette Beck (Ethan), Joseph, Jared, Dylan, Lena Claire, Elliott; and great-granddaughters, Sabella and Aubrielle. He is additionally survived by his brothers, Ramiro (Chacha), Peter (Adriana), and John Celedon; sister, Margaret Aguirre (Clement); sister-in-law, Mary Ann Celedon; brothers-in-law, Bill Johnston, Joe Garde; sisters-in-law, Inez Ruiz (Philip) and Julie Walker, as well as his Tía Maria Gutierrez and cousins. He was blessed with many friends, among them, Vito Almaraz, Pete Cardoza, John Gomez, Lalo Castañeda, Mike Smith, Dale Hodges, Paul Wellman, and Dave Rusconi. 
Visitation will be held Sunday, November 2, 2014, from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.; and a funeral service will be held on Monday, November 3, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at Greenlawn Southwest, 2739 Panama Lane. Dr. Richard Thompson of First United Methodist Church will officiate. For condolences please visit
Greenlawn Funeral Home Southwest
Published in Bakersfield Californian from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, 2014
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