Born on the family farm on Jan. 28, 1923, he was the son of George and Valda Capwell Tewksbury.
On June 27, 1942, Ralph married Betty Jane Brown in Wyalusing. Their love endured many years of hard work and devotion to the large family that they raised on the same family farm that Ralph was born on.
Working side by side, from sunup until sundown and then some, Ralph and Betty Jane ran their very successful dairy farm while raising their eight children.
In between working on the farm, Ralph worked full-time at Vandervort Mills in Laceyville where he was a dedicated employee who was a joy to work with. He left the farm for a short period to “spread his wings.” He and Betty Jane moved to Sayre where he worked at the Sayre Shops Railroad Company. The military called on Ralph to serve in WWII; however, when he informed them that he had previously worked for his Dad on the family farm, they told him to go back to farming to honorably support his country.
Ralph had more friends than anyone could even begin to imagine, and he never failed to pay respects to all those that passed before him. He was the center of any gathering, where he always declared, “no one has more fun than our family.” He enjoyed his family and friends and loved surrounding himself with fun people. He never missed a night at the annual Wyalusing Carnival where he would ride the ferris wheel over and over. He greeted each fellow with a hearty handshake and saved all his kisses for his “girls.” He enjoyed attending family reunions and never missed any of them. He attended each graduation, marriage or any other special event for all of his family.
At the age of 80, Ralph was given a party by his family, and no one, at the age of 80, ever danced as much as he did and he outlasted everyone there. Ralph’s zest for life was envied by many. He always looked at the positives in life and was always willing to help anyone that needed it. All deals were made with a handshake and a promise. Ralph never was in a confrontation with anyone as he knew issues could always be worked out.
Ralph endured prostate and skin cancer and beat it back in the 80s and would milk his cows in the morning, drive himself to Sayre for his treatment and be back in time to milk the cows at night. He did this for weeks and never once complained. Each day was a gift to him, and he enjoyed every minute to the fullest.
The last few years of his life, he had slowed down quite a bit as he was unable to see as clearly as he wanted to. However, he still managed to “drive his buggy” every day and greet his “fans” at Mark’s Valley View to have his lunch. He always enjoyed getting together with his family for their annual hunting adventures and until the past few years, could out walk anyone while pushing out the deer to his family and friends.
Ralph leaves behind a wonderful legacy and is survived by his sons and their wives, whom he referred to as his daughters, Ralph (Damon), Jr. and Doreen Johns Tewksbury of Wake Forest, NC, Bruce and Patti Warner Tewksbury, Brian (Buck) and Linda Fenton Tewksbury, Bart (Babe) and Tammy Loomis Tewksbury, Brett (Fred) and Carla Ferris Tewksbury, and Ben (Juby) and Rena Jayne Tewksbury, all of Spring Hill. He is also survived by his daughter, Betsy (Trixie) Tewksbury VanDeMark of Spring Hill and his son-in-law, David VanDe- Mark of Sugar Run. Also surviving Ralph are 20 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren with another great-grandchild due in the next few weeks. He is also survived by his brother-in-law and sister- in-law, Bob and Ruth Brown of Wyalusing, as well as many nieces and nephews,
Ralph was predeceased by his wife of 56 years, Betty Jane, on Feb. 21, 1999; his loving daughter, Beverly Kay Tewksbury Navle, on May 27, 2007; his father, George, on Sept. 23, 1971; his mother, Valda, on Jan. 22, 1970; his brother, Verne Tewksbury and his sister, Dorothy (Dot) Tewksbury Tilley.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 19 at 11 a.m. at the Sheldon Funeral Home, Main St., Laceyville, with Rev. Dale Russell of the Spring Hill United Methodist Church and long-time family friend, Rev. Helen Learn, officiating. Interment will follow at the Lacey Street Cemetery. Friends and family may call at the funeral home from 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 18.
Online condolences may be made at www.sheldonfuneralhomes.com.
Flowers will be furnished by the family. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to an organization that was very close to Ralph’s heart, Over the Hill Relay for Life, c/o Barb Gary, 1822 Shumway Road, Wyalusing, PA 18853.