Ralph Eugene Gadbury, 94, of Ireton, Iowa, formerly of North Pole, died Saturday, April 27, 2013, at his granddaughter's home in Ireton.
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Public visitation will begin at noon today, April 30, 2013, and the funeral service begins at 7 p.m. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, in Ireton, Iowa. Burial will be Saturday, May 4, in Brier, Wash. The Porter Funeral Home in Ireton is assisting the family. Condolences may be sent to www.porterfuner alhomes.com.
Ralph Eugene Gadbury was born Feb. 18, 1919, in Turon, Kan., surviving to the ripe old age of 94. He lived a fulfilling and adventurous life.
Growing up in Turon with three brothers and four sisters, he left home at 15 to earn his own way. He traveled the Midwest, shucking corn for farmers and working a sheep ranch for his future father-in-law. He married his sweetheart before shipping off to France as an Army sergeant in World War II.
His platoon was in the first wave to land at Normandy on D-Day, where he earned a Purple Heart. With pocket-bibles gripped and crossed about their necks, Ralph and one comrade were the only two in their platoon to survive the war, and free the frail prisoners in the German concentration camps.
After mining for coal and engineering on the largest steam powered train ever made for Union Pacific, Ralph later heeded the "call of the wild," where he lived out 55 years in Alaska.
His young family of four, traveled the rutty road north to help his mother farm in North Pole. After her passing, he opened the Golden Heart Dairy, and too soon was forced into bankruptcy by government related buy-outs. Ralph pulled himself up by his bootstraps, though, and became foreman of the Fort Wainwright Power Plant in Fairbanks, where he retired 20 years later.
He and his wife spent many busy weekends at the Goodpaster cabin, dip netted for salmon in the Copper River and fished for halibut in Homer through the summers. They ice-fished the winters away at the lake and traveled to see family in the Lower 48.
Ralph lost his wife, Jean; his sons, Ray and Richard; a granddaughter, two brothers and a sister while he was here on earth. He is survived by three sisters; one brother; four grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren, including Andrew Carlson, of Fairbanks.
Amid sad losses, he had a richly blessed life and left this world with yet another badge of honor, "great-great-grandfather" twice over. He believed in his heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross for him, and looked forward to being reunited with his family in heaven. He now spends eternity in peace, awaiting all of us to join him.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Apr. 30, 2013