Ralph R. Brumbaugh, 92, passed away April 16, 2014, at his home in Wasilla, from pancreatic cancer.
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He was born in Chelan, Wash., the youngest son of Martin and Adeline Brumbaugh. He graduated from Orville High School in Washington and attended Smith Aviation College in Utah. He served his country as a U.S. Navy senior chief petty officer; after his military service, he went to work for Boeing as an experimental aircraft mechanic.
He earned his FAA commercial pilot's license with instrument and multi-engine ratings in the 1950s. He first came to Alaska in the early '50s employed as a pilot and later as manager/pilot of a small airline based in Dillingham. In 1954, Ralph moved back to Washington where he was employed again at Boeing as an experimental aircraft mechanic at the Experimental Flight Test Center. The primary work consisted of experimental modification work on experimental B-52 Bombers and some prototype 707 aircrafts.
He missed the adventures and spirit of Alaska; in 1956, he moved his family to Fairbanks. Ralph worked at Interior Airways as superintendent of maintenance and engineering, and served as copilot on the C46 and DC3 flights to Anchorage when needed. Ralph then went on to work at Wien Air Alaska as vice president of operations, Alaska International Air as executive vice president, and Markair as president and CEO for many years until his retirement in 1992.
During his retirement, he and his wife, Evelyn, enjoyed RV-ing in their GMC motorhome. Ralph had a great love for the GMC motorhome and once owned five of them at the same time. They enjoyed traveling throughout the state, participating in GMC rallies and making many friends along the way.
He had a very creative mind and loved the challenge of making things out of all sorts of material, including fabric. At age 78, he took up quilting. After making numerous king sized bed quilts, he designed and created many treasured miniature quilted bowls for his family and friends.
He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Evelyn; sons, Jonny (Marilyn), of Warrensburg, Mo.; Jerry (Sandra), of Longview, Texas, and Randy (Linda,) of Fairbanks; daughter, Judy (Bob) Engleman, of Anchorage; 11 grandchildren, Rory, David, Laury, Colin, Kristy, Graham, Craig, Douglas, Robert, Brian and Darrell; 16 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Ralph is preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Stanley, Stewart, Abraham and Henry; and sister, Roanie Jackman.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society. Per his request, there will be no memorial service. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Cremation Society of Alaska/MatSu.
Cremation Society of Alaska
7216 Lake Otis Parkway Anchorage, AK 99507
Published in Daily News-Miner on Apr. 25, 2014