ESTES, RALPH L., 70, of Louisville, passed away Thursday, August 1, 2013 at the Rex Robley V.A. Medical Center's Hospice Unit.
Ralph was born February 3, 1941 in Louisville. He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Lucy Estes; brother, Billy Estes; and brother-in-law, Arthur Howard.
After attending PRP High School, Ralph enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and was stationed at Goose Bay Labrador, Newfoundland, where he worked as a jet engine mechanic. Afterwards, he became an over the road truck driver for many years and was a longtime member of Teamsters Local 89.
Ralph had many interests. In his earlier years he enjoyed racing stock cars, riding motorcycles and could fix or build anything. He was an excellent billiards player and won several tournaments. He owned several local businesses, in the early 1970s-- an Esso Station, later a Gulf Station and then Derby City Billiards. Later in life he began woodturning and making stained glass.
He leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife of 53 years, Bonita Hiner Estes; their daughters, Sherri Stewart (Fred) and Sandra Kaufman Wheatley (John); grandsons, Nicky and Dustin Kaufman and Aaron (Lauren) and Kelly Stewart; great-granddaughter, Eliza Jane Stewart; brother, Tommy Estes (Nancy); sister, Evelyn Howard; aunt, Mildred Grant and many nieces and nephews.
At Ralph's request, cremation was chosen with no public service or visitation. As always, being so sensitive and concerned with the needs of others, he felt funerals only prolonged the pain and heartache of the loved ones.
The family would like to sincerely thank all the kindhearted and friendly staff of the V.A. Hospital. Ralph received excellent care and treatment during his two-year courageous and valiant battle with cancer. We are especially thankful for the V.A.'s warm and compassionate team of Hospice angels, both the in-home and 5 North crew.
Published in The Courier-Journal on Aug. 4, 2013