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Ralph Owen Holbrook

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MANCHESTER -- Ralph Owen Holbrook died in the early morning hours of Dec. 25, 2007. His Christmas gift was release and freedom from a long struggle with Alzheimer’s.

Born on Jan. 16, 1923, in Mason City, Iowa, Owen joined his family of three older sisters, Irene, Ruth and Helen, who welcomed him along with his parents, Mabel Thomas Holbrook and Claude Holbrook.

After graduating from Mason City High School, he pursued a degree in electrical engineering, earning his bachelor of science from Iowa State in December 1943. Owen began his career in engineering with Stromberg Carlson in Rochester, N.Y., where he met and fell in love with his wife, June Elizabeth Oys. They married on Nov. 3, 1945, and subsequently had three children, John Owen Holbrook of Nisswa, Minn., Bruce Claude Holbrook of Norfolk, Va., and Cynthia H. Gubb of Londonderry.

Living in the greater Washington D.C. area, Owen worked for the Naval Ordnance Lab, then Arinc Research, which took the family to California for four years. Returning to McLean, Va., in 1965, he worked for Bird Engineering until he retired in 1995, working on reliability studies of the Harpoon Missile system. He worked part-time for Prometheus after his “official” retirement until age 70. After 41 years in McLean, Owen and June relocated to Manchester in October 2006 to be close to their daughter, Cynthia.

In addition to his work, Owen enjoyed bridge, loved to travel, played a mean game of tennis, liked to get out on his bike, was an excellent dancer and generally loved life. His greatest love, however, was his family. He adored his wife, June, and they celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary in November.

He is survived by his wife; his three children; seven grandchildren, Brian John Holbrook, Jill Ann Holbrook, Beth Victoria Holbrook, Matthew Owen Holbrook, Patricia Allison Dennenberg, Jennifer Kelly Burris, and Andrew Bruce Holbrook; and nine great-grandchildren.

Owen was an easy-going, happy man who counted his blessings, not his woes, and found something to celebrate every day. He was grateful for the smallest kindness, for the love of his family and friends and always saw the glass half-full. His legacy is simple -- never hesitate to say with the utmost meaning and enthusiasm, “I love you”.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Bennington Project Independence capital campaign, for a new facility to provide for adult day care in Bennington County, c/o Brewster Funeral Service, P.O. Box 885, Manchester, VT 05255.
Published in Bennington Banner on Dec. 29, 2007
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