ELWOOD – Ralph R. Caldwell, age 88, and a lifelong resident of Elwood, ran through the Pearly Gates into his wife’s arms on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, at Liberty Village Healthcare in Muncie following an extended illness.
He entered into the world on Nov. 18, 1932 in Elwood, the middle son of Fredrick and Eva Mae (VanHorn) Caldwell.
Ralph was an active child growing up playing basketball and other sports. He graduated in 1951 from Wendell L. Willkie High School. He met the spitfire love of his life, Patricia Landrum, and they entered holy matrimony on Aug. 19, 1952. They proceeded to joyously bring Donna Sue, Carl Dale and Teresa Lou into the world completing their little family.
Ralph worked various jobs in his life and he retired from Switzer Corporation in Elwood in 1980 after many years of service.
Ralph loved a good poker game and was an avid fisherman and hunter. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Elwood. Ralph was pivotal in helping develop the youth football league in Elwood, formerly known as the Elwood Athletic Club. After the birth of his eight grandchildren, you could often find him at Elwood Panther sporting events in one form or another. From football games, cross country meets, wrestling meets, basketball games, volleyball games, softball games, baseball games, track meets and many others; Ralph often became an adopted “Grandpa Ralph” to many of the young athletes.
Ralph was blessed to witness the marriages of five of his grandchildren, as well as the births of 10 of his great-grandchildren.
Along the way, Ralph made many lifelong friends – either making inappropriate jokes or seeing him at numerous Elwood Panther events. He was also a diehard Chicago Cubs baseball fan and he enjoyed telling stories and spending time with his family. Ralph particularly enjoyed pestering his grandchildren and his presence will be greatly missed.
Ralph’s family includes his three children, Donna (husband Walter) Minniear of Elwood, Carl (wife Kelly) Caldwell of Elwood and Teresa (husband John) Saxton of Elwood; seven grandchildren, Brent (Jenni) Caldwell, Beth (Derek) Sexter, Grace (Bill) Saxton, Bruce Minniear, J.R. Saxton, Tyler (Quincy) Caldwell and Ayla Caldwell; 10 great-grandchildren, Aiden, Emi, Callen, Avi, Charlie, Scarlett, Hazel, Cooke, Landyn and Levi; brothers-in-law, Rex Landrum and Max (Sue) Landrum; sisters-in-law, Nancy Caldwell and Jane Ann Caldwell; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews; and several very special friends.
Ralph was preceded in death by both his parents; wife, Patty Caldwell; grandson, Toby Warner; two brothers, Fred Caldwell and Donnie Caldwell; sister-in-law, Susie Landrum; and beloved black lab, “Lady.”
A funeral service celebrating Ralph’s life will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, at Copher-Fesler-May Funeral Home in Elwood with Pastor Ron Meyer of Harmony Christian Church officiating. Burial will follow in the Elwood City Cemetery.
Visitation for family and friends will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday prior to the funeral at the funeral home. Health precautions for the safety of the family and visitors will include wearing face coverings and social distancing.
Memorial contributions are suggested to the Elwood Animal Shelter through the funeral home.
Online condolences and memories may be shared at copherfeslermay.com.