Ralph Billingham

RALPH BENJAMIN BILLINGHAM JR., 88 ROCKFORD - Ralph Benjamin Billingham Jr., 88, died from heart failure Friday, July 6, 2012. Ralph was born Nov. 30, 1923, in Rockford, where he was happy to spend his entire life and raise his family. He graduated from Rockford East High School in 1942. He attended Beloit (Wis.) College, spent two years in the Army during World War II, returned to Beloit College, fell in love with the campus nurse, El, and graduated in 1948. Ralph and El married in 1948. Ralph worked at W.F. and John Barnes his whole career, where he always had an immaculately tidy desk. Early in his tenure he travelled extensively throughout the country by car, with no air conditioning. His work eventually allowed for travel to England, which he loved, and commuting to Detroit, which he didn't love so much. He retired in 1986. After El died in 1979, a mutual friend introduced him to Margaret who has been his companion and friend ever since. Independent until the end, Ralph never forgot anyone's birthday. He was kind, generous, devoted to his family, bossy, opinionated, and fiercely loyal, as was evidenced by his undying support and love for the Chicago Cubs and the Bears. He will be missed by his children, David (Jean), Katherine (Howard Feldman), Stephen (Julia) and Lisa (Michael Jensen); grandchildren, Anne, Matthew, Joshua, Elissa, Daniel, Leah, Margaret, Katherine and Grace; and great-grandchildren, Evan and Marit; and his great and true friend, Margaret Oligschlaeger, to whom Ralph's family will be eternally grateful. Passing on before him were his parents, Ralph Sr., and Ruth Billingham; sister, Barbara Billingham; and his wonderful wife and the mother of his children, Elfrieda Billingham. Memorial service in his honor at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at Julian-Poorman-Welte Funeral Home, 304 N. Fifth St., Rockford, with visitation beginning at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated to either the , heart.org or the Council of Indian Nations National Relief Charities, PO Box 1800, Apache Junction, AZ 85117, nrcprograms.org, in honor of Ralph's faithful companions in the infantry. For online memorial register, maps and directions, visit weltefuneral.com.

Published in Rockford Register Star from July 15 to July 16, 2012