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Ralph Halverson

1919 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
Ralph Halverson Obituary
Ralph Halverson

Lakeside, CA, formerly of Great Falls — Ralph Halverson passed away peacefully in his Lakeside, CA, home on the afternoon of May 20, 2013. At the time of his death, Ralph was 93 years old. He was born on 9/05/1919 in Tyvan, Saskatchewan, to Victoria & Carl Halverson. At the age of 5, his family moved to Flaxton, North Dakota, where he would graduate from high school as Valedictorian. Ralph graduated from Northern State Teachers College in Aberdeen, SD in 1941 (later named Northern State University). He was a star on the college basketball team, and college and Army Air Corps track & field team, especially in 1941, as a 13-foot pole vaulter, 23-foot long jumper, and sprinter. It was in Aberdeen that he met his girlfriend and future wife, Margaret Swanson. Ralph was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Corps, later to be named the U.S. Air Force. He was promoted multiple times within five days to the rank of Staff Sgt because his commanding officer wanted to keep him on the base in Boca Raton, FL. Ralph's position was fitness trainer and the commanding officer recognized and respected Ralph's treatment, training, and motivation toward all airmen and officers. No one under Ralph's watch, despite age, gender, rank, or race was treated any differently. Ralph was later stationed in Japan after WWII, and was a parachute jump instructor in the Air Force. Ralph liked to tell the story that he never jumped out of a plane, but was chosen as an instructor for his athletic abilities, especially his skill at landing safely in a pole vault pit of dirt or sand. Ralph and Margaret married in 1942 and were devoted to each other for 51 years. They had five children: Karen, Victoria, Cynthia, William, and a son, who died in infancy. After his military service, which ended at Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Ralph started teaching and coaching in Belt, MT. He then taught and coached at Cascade High School for 16 years. He spent his remaining years teaching PE and coaching Track & Field at Great Falls High School until his retirement in 1984. Winning wasn't everything for this coach. Ralph encouraged everyone to try their hardest and have fun, no matter the event. Ralph was the Executive Director and Clinic Director of the Montana Coaches Association since 1981. The annual MCA Multi-Sports Clinic was a highlight of his year. Ralph was proud of his children, enjoyed their company, and adored his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a golfer until about a year ago. His wit and adventure, joke telling, storytelling, dancing expertise, lust for life, and energy made him a favorite grandfather, uncle, coach and friend. His coaching awards are numerous, and his most recent Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Organization of Coaches Association Directors this past January, with his family present in Orlando, was especially meaningful to him. Ralph was preceded in death by his parents and all seven siblings, his loving wife Margaret, his baby son David Ralph, and his grandson Carl. Ralph is survived by his children, who will miss him terribly: Karen in Lakeside, CA; Victoria (Joseph) in Great Falls; Cynthia (Gary) in Winterville, NC; Bill (Tiemi) in Charlotte, NC. He also leaves behind 9 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. If memorials are desired, the Montana Coaches Association has a scholarship in Ralph's name. Please see

A celebration of Ralph's life will be held Friday, June 7th. More details at a later date are available at

Published in Great Falls Tribune on May 22, 2013
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