July 07, 1928 - July 11, 2021
Ralph Donald Amundsen, 93, beloved spouse, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great grandfather peacefully passed away at home on Sunday, July 11, 2021. Ralph was born July 7, 1928, in La Crosse to Aelred and Frances (Stuhr) Amundsen. Ralph married the love of his life, Sally Dettinger on January 17, 1948.
Our father, Ralph Amundsen, was an amazing man. He taught us all how to love and be of service. He was a mechanical/production engineer at the La Crosse Cooler Co. from 1943-1980 and at Webster Lumber Co. from 1980-1995. He designed and built houses on the side. He was one of the original firefighters who started the Volunteer Shelby Fire Department in 1957. He served in the department for 45 years, including being a captain and assistant chief. He was a calm presence in times of distress.
Our Dad was ingenious about finding solutions. Two of his favorite sayings were, “There is a better, efficient way” and “Given time, I can fix anything that is broken.” Dad’s style of thinking led him to helping and serving many businesses and individuals. He designed equipment and processes. He made beautiful blue prints and had his work patented. If something needed a part and one couldn’t be found, he made it. If a design seemed impossible, he made it possible for others. Our Dad’s creativity and intelligence knew no bounds. You could frequently find him in his garage, working, designing, and creating, often with a smell of sawdust in the air.
Dad loved the outdoors and adventures. He and our mom enjoyed camping and traveling. He hunted and fished. He enjoyed his hunting land with his family and using his tractor. He continued to ride his ATV four wheeler to his 93rd birthday. He enjoyed reading and board games and played a mean card game, memorizing all the cards and being able to tell others what was in their hands.
Dad had a great listening ear and a great big heart. Always generous with his time, attention, and wisdom. All who encountered him felt his positive energy. He loved to joke around and make others laugh. He was an incredible story teller.
He loved life, living each day to its fullest. Our father and mother, Sally, the love of his life and best friend, led by example. Whatever they did and wherever they went they were always holding hands; he was a true gentleman. They were married for two weeks short of 70 years. He was an amazing Dad, devoted to his six children. He was always there when needed, whether to solve a problem, or for a laugh, a cry or both. He truly touched the hearts of his children, his grandchildren, his great and great- great grandchildren. Dad will be so very missed by all of us and all who knew him.
Survivors are: four sons, Ronald, Richard (Georgia), Russell (Beverly), Rory (Sheri), and daughter, Lorrie Roeck-Wiese (Paul); 16 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchild. He is further survived by sister, Elaine Castor and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by parents Aelred and Frances, his beloved wife Sally, and his son Ralph M., daughter-in-law Rhonda, and daughter-in-law Sue and great-granddaughter Lynn.
Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 am, Wednesday, July 21, at Mary Mother of the Church, with visitation one hour before services. Visitation also will be from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Tuesday, July 20th, at Schumacher-Kish Funeral Home of La Crosse. Burial will be at Woodlawn Cemetery after church services.
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