Ralph V. Sluys
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Great Falls —Ralph Sluys, 90, of Great Falls passed away peacefully on September 8, 2013 at the Bee Hive Assisted Living.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm at Hillcrest Lawn Mausoleum with entombment to follow. O'Connor Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Ralph was born in Conrad, MT on September 30, 1922. He graduated from Conrad High School in 1941 and entered officer training school in the Navy after graduation, serving in Saipan in WWII. In 1945 he married Katharine Miller in Cut Bank and began working for Western Airlines. Between 1946 and 1950 he also worked for Moberly Customhouse Brokerage and received his U.S. Customhouse Brokerage License on May 10, 1950.
In 1959 Ralph transferred to Great Falls as Senior Agent for Western Airlines and also opened his Customhouse Brokerage office. He retired from Western Airlines in 1978 but continued with his brokerage business. He sold his business in 2006, and at that time was the oldest U.S. Customhouse Broker in the United States, operating under his original license for 56 years.
Ralph remained in the Navy Reserves as a Lieutenant Commander until he retired. He was active in Toastmasters, American Legion and Optimists, and also volunteered for numerous other community service projects. Ralph loved Glacier Park and enjoyed spending time at their cabin near Essex. He also thoroughly enjoyed travelling anywhere. He maintained a love of landscaping throughout his life and especially enjoyed planting flowers.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Katharine Sluys of Great Falls and sisters Margaret Bauma and Dena Skov.
He is survived by his daughter, Carolyn Craven of Oklahoma City, OK; brother Robert Sluys of Salem, OR; sister Ella Gondek of Golden, British Columbia; and several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the Great Falls Optimist Club or Peace Hospice of Montana or the
Condolences may be left online at www.oconnorfuneralhome.com.
Published in Great Falls Tribune from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11, 2013