Ralph Laverne Bredehoft, 77, passed away surrounded by his family in his home in Flagler, on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, after returning home from almost a seven week stay in the hospitals of Denver.
He was born on July 23, 1936 in Sterling, to Walter and Hilda Bredehoft.
Raised with his five siblings, Ted, Leroy, Ron, Jeanette, and Roger, the entire family worked to deliver the Rocky Mountain News for many years.
Beginning his faith at a young age, Ralph attended a Lutheran school through the eighth grade, where Walter taught.
He graduated from Sterling High School in 1954 with a full scholarship for wrestling and football to Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
Ralph was a dedicated brother of Delta Phi Rho fraternity at Cornell.
"Big Brother Ted," also an alumni of Cornell and Delta Phi Rho, was referred to as Jr. during Ralph's years in the fraternity.
A skilled wrestler and talented football player, Ralph graduated with his bachelor's degree in teaching after studying there for four years.
Feeling a call to duty, Ralph enlisted in the Army
after his graduation from college.
He served as Army Special Forces of the 101st Airborne Division. From 1960-1963, his time in the military took him all over the US, and the world.
A memorable time that he wrote home about was in Okinawa, Japan.
After returning home, Ralph found employment with Toltek Drilling Company in Sterling.
Never shying from a dangerous task, he worked full-time and even lots of overtime in the oil fields for the next four years.
While working in Sterling, Ralph met the love of his life, Betty Andersen-Konkel, while she was playing softball. She was playing shortstop, and "she caught my eye."
Ralph and Betty married on May 2, 1964. A devoted family man, Ralph adopted Betty's three children, Terry, Thomas, and Tina, from her previous marriage. On April 1, 1966, Ralph and Betty welcomed the birth of their daughter Kristine.
A work-a-holic, Ralph was given an ultimatum to leave the oil fields and pursue his teaching career, or else.
Thus, in September 1967, Ralph accepted a position with Flagler Public Schools as a Science and Spanish teacher. The Bredehoft clan loaded into a car and made the move.
A couple of years passed, and Flagler was in need of a special education teacher.
Ralph volunteered and completed his master's in special ed over the next three years, through the University of Northern Colorado. He would continue to teach students with special needs for the next thirty years.
In addition to teaching, Ralph also assisted the coaching of Flagler's football team at both the middle and high school levels.
He also coached high school wrestling for Flagler High School for a number of years.
In 1976, Ralph took over the varsity football team and began his legacy as "Coach B."
Demanding the best from his players, Bredehoft went on to win two state titles and multiple second place titles throughout his coaching career.
He was recognized many times as "Coach of the Year" and "Coach of the Week" by CHSAA, The Denver Post and the Denver Broncos Football Organization.
After retiring in 1998, Ralph enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren, traveling, and earning some extra cash as a crop adjustor.
He began his battle with cancer in 2005. In 2007, to escape the cold winters of Eastern Colorado, after two knee replacements, one hip replacement, and his victory over the cancer, Ralph and Betty purchased a condominium in Mesquite, Nev. where they enjoyed daily trips to the senior center playing cards, dominoes, and visiting with friends.
They also enjoyed "spending their children's inheritance" playing the slots at the local casinos.
Over the years, Ralph and Betty traveled to Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, the Panama Canal, Maine, California, North Carolina, and Branson, Mo.
Ralph particularly enjoyed the many trips to Branson, which were always highlighted by visits with brother Ted and wife Susan in Wichita, Kan.
In fact, he enjoyed seven days in Branson before he suffered a heart attack upon their return.
Ralph is survived by his loving spouse of 49 1/2 years, Betty Bredehoft, sons Terry Bredehoft and wife Cami of Denver, Tom Bredehoft and wife Jean of Flagler, daughters Tina Laviguer of Orange, Calif., Kris Bredehoft of Denver, and grandchildren: Sabreena Moss, Adam Laviguer, Bobby Laviguer, Taylor Bredehoft, Suzanne and Eli Moore, Wes and Stephanie Strode, Luke and Tonya Strode and seven great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents Walter and Hilda, and brothers, Leroy and Ron.
Memorial services were held at First Congregational Church of Flagler on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 at 3 p.m.
Memorial donations may be made to the Flagler Senior Citizen's Center, P.O. Box 205, Flagler, CO 80815.
Love Funeral Home of Limon was in charge of arrangements.
Please visit their website at www.lovefuneralhomes.com
to sign their online guest book or to send the family your message of condolence.