Ralph Calkins

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Calkins, Ralph N.

1926- 2017

Ralph Nelson Calkins PhD was born April 28, 1926, to Fred M. & (Mary) Luella (nee McDonald) Calkins in a house on the corner of North 4th Street and Pueblo Avenue. The third of seven children (Edith, Fred Myron, Ralph, Carol, Jean, John, and Joanne), Ralph attended Los Ranchos School and John Marshall School, where his father Fred was principal. Ralph graduated from Albuquerque High in 1944 and joined the Navy ROTC at the University of New Mexico soon after. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from UNM in 1947, then completed his master's degree in economics in 1949. He married Ruth Thatcher, daughter of George and Gladys (Goosic) Thatcher, in January 1949, having met her in a singing group at the Wesley Club at UNM, in which she sang alto and he sang baritone.

Ralph and Ruth moved to Bloomfield, New Jersey, where Ralph first taught economics before being named Dean of the Faculty at Bloomfield College in 1953, a position he held until 1967. He continued his education, ultimately earning his PhD in Economics from Columbia University in 1963. During this period, three children (Alison, Paul, and Patricia) were born to the family.

Ralph was a lifelong supporter of liberal Democratic causes. He supported the candidacy of Henry Wallace in 1948. He participated in the 1948 Walgreens boycott in Albuquerque. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in Alabama.

After a one-year stint as a professor at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, Ralph and Ruth settled in Hanover, Indiana in 1968, where he taught Economics and the emerging field of Computer Science at Hanover College. Upon his retirement in 1991, Ralph and Ruth removed to North Edith Avenue, the site of the former Thatcher's Dairy, where they resided until their relocation to Indianola, Iowa in 2014.

Ralph's retirement years were spent gardening on the Edith property, where he coaxed bushels of fresh fruits and vegetables out of the arid ground in his large garden. He regularly supplied the local food banks with his produce. He authored a book on economics, "The Gradual Encroachment: Capitalism as we Know It" in 2003.

Ralph passed away peacefully on January 31, 2017 after a long illness. He is survived by Ruth, his beloved wife of 68 years, his children Alison, Paul, and Patricia, daughters-in-law Elizabeth Calkins and CoryAnne Harrigan, sister Joanne Calkins, grandchildren Avery and Eli Calkins, and numerous nieces and nephews. The family asks that memorial donations be directed to Planned Parenthood, the Roadrunner Food Bank, or the American Civil Liberties Union.

Funeral Home
Overton Funeral Home
501 W Ashland Avenue
Indianola, IA 50125
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Published in Albuquerque Journal on Feb. 5, 2017